Courting Medusa’s Daughter

By Jane Yolen

I enter the courtyard, following the hiss.

Flowers stick yellow tongues into my ears.

Milkweed parachutes overhead,

and the little spring peepers praise flies.

She waits in the alcove, breasts uncovered,

a green glow covering her like a shroud.

I’m not her first lover. I mean to be her last.

Marble statues, like vows, shatter between us.

I hold the mirrored shield so she can see

her own face which startles her into immobility.

Stepping forward, I kiss those cold lips,

feel the ice conquer my heart.

There is no wedding cake but funeral meats.

No marital bed but a tomb.

The words etched on the sarcophagus:

Ever after.

We are the story you read.


A poet since a child (and no, she won’t post those here), Jane Yolen’s first real poetry sales happened after 113 rejections, which she posted on her bedroom wall. Since then she has had 10 books of adult poetry published as well as many poems for children published in collections, anthologies, as part of novels, a novel in verse (Finding Baba Yaga), as well as a memoir of her father’s family, who immigrated to America in the early 1900s (Ekaterinoslav). All in all, she has 370 books published, including novels, graphic novels, picture books, essays, two cookbooks, 10 music books, and won many awards, one of which set her good coat on fire.