Among the Gorgons

By Michelle Boisseau Michelle Boisseau

For Eleanor

For seventeen years I was caught in the surf.
Drubbed and scoured, I’d snatch a breath
and be jerked down again, dragged across
broken shells and shingle. I loved it,
mostly, the need, how I fed the frantic.

I’d skipped into that sea. Certainly not
a girl, but I could still turn a head as I took
the foam between my thighs.
Then it was over.

                                Hiss of a match
snuffed with spit. The sea had trotted off.
I stood in the stink of flapping fish.
At first it stung. A galaxy of dimes
eyed my sag and crinkles and dismissed
me like a canceled stamp,

but something tugged at me, silver braids
weaving and unweaving themselves
and either the path was shrinking
or I was getting bigger, for soon the way
was just a hair, the extra bit of wit

a grandma leaves on her chin
to scare the boys, and it led me
into a cave crackling like a woodstove
with laughter.

                            A landslide opened
a seam of rubies and we stepped inside.

Source: Poetry (January 2012).

RELATED CONTENT

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Michelle Boisseau

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Growing Old, The Body, Time & Brevity, Youth, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Free Verse