It is 1536 & the queen is dying too slowly.
In the shadows, a gable hood veiling
her sleeping snakes, Medusa waits
for the guard to pass, taking the torchlight
with him. She does not need it.
The queen’s apartments are grand &
in good keeping despite the recent turmoil.
She slips in. The queen’s attendants
are sleeping, huddled on cots or bent
over the table. The queen herself is still
awake, kneeling in prayer, murmuring.
She does not shake even though she has
every right to be afraid. Medusa whispers,
“Your majesty.” The queen opens her eyes,
meets hers, & the stone kills her quickly,
marble threading through her skin
& filling in her dark eyes. Her pose
forever peaceful, her face forever strong.


Thumbing the edges
of uneven book pages,
like firecrackers.


all who wander are lost in some
scape—land of mind, body;
until moon sings to sun of the last
vine of being: weaves forth
the stardust of all folks into unparalleled
pulse, blood unburdened: tangled
along the curve of earth’s spine.


My gratitude to The Maine Review, Suisun Valley Review, and Burningword, in which these poems found their homes.


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