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).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2012
 Michelle  Boisseau


Michelle Boisseau was awarded a 2010 NEA fellowship.  Her fourth book of poems, A Sunday in God-Years, was published in 2009 by University of Arkansas Press which also published her third, Trembling Air, a PEN USA finalist, 2003. Her textbook, Writing Poems (Longman), is in its 8th edition. She is professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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Poem Categorization

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

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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