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Hero with the Head of Medusa

Max Graham

If I am told how to wear my skin

I will shed it

I will find seams in my femininity and pluck at them with my too-short fingernails until it falls at

my feet without a sound

I will run away

and I will not say goodbye to you

I will make the arrangements

I will go somewhere far from the molt of the accursed one on my bathroom floor

far from the scaly flesh that binds my tongue to the inside of my throat as I am bracing myself

for the Harpe of Perseus

you can take my beauty

I don’t want it anymore

For fear I could end up like Daphne

who became a laurel tree to escape the lust of the hero

and then forever the leaves that decorate the heads of them

I will be the thing with snakes for hair

and curse you just as I was

I will start fires from olive branches and burn the place where the hero and the rapist have the

same face

I don’t want to be a woman anymore

and when you, through blood and tears, had the callousness to say “does that feel good”

I don’t want to be a person anymore

When you kill me, I will watch as my unholy spirit

drifts some place far from you

I will trade this soul for another

without the curse of being remembered as a thing that you used once and then threw away

And if I don’t get my wish

I will be the stone

The thing that cannot be made bloody by your greedy flesh

Max Graham often returns to feminine rage in their poetry, responding to the pain of stage four endometriosis and the complex relationship with being born female. Their jumping spider Sarah sits in an enclosure surrounded by tiny, hand-made pottery.

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