So I’m a Gorgon, and That’s Okay

by TS S. Fulk

I awoke one morning to the squirming of my hair, as if it was trying 

to slither away of its own accord. Naturally, I felt that was rather odd.

So I slid out of bed and performed all the usual morning rituals

before looking into the mirror only to find that not

a single strand of my luxuriant black hair was there, replaced by a nest of snakes, what kind

I didn’t know — something poisonous, no doubt.

Which is something that you probably feel right now, doubt.

However, I need you to try

to understand that there was a basis for this happening, this was not some kind 

of hoax and nothing was odd

or strange about it. People already avoided my gaze, having learned not

to look at me when I’m overcome with with ticks or fail to perform my rituals.

The frustration that explodes from me during an interrupted ritual

is not something that you want to experience, nor my paralyzing glare. So doubt

all you want. I’ve always known the gorgon within, whose obsessive thoughts cannot

be turned away so easily. God knows I’ve tried.

Yet the little repeated behavior does help for the odd

few seconds to keep the pressure cooker of stress from an explosion of some kind.

I do my best to be kind 

and to fit in this perfect Instagram world. My rituals,

although they seem odd,

are a needed coping mechanism. There is no doubt

that I’m trying.

It’s just that I fail more often than not.

So these snakes were not

something new, a new kind

of trial or torture trying

to destroy those in my sight. Like the rituals

that must be performed, I doubt

not that I own these beasts too, however odd.

So I will name them each in their odd

fashion whether you like it or not:

Anxiety born of doubt,

Remorse for all those frustrating failures of kindness,

Compulsion the force behind all rituals,

and Resignation in knowing that day after day one must continue trying.

Now there is no doubt in my mind that I am not odd

or whatever freakish label you try to place on me, and I’m most certainly not

a monster, that some hero beheads, instead of kindly looking beyond this and all my rituals.