Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Medusa, Creator of Men

Medusa builds her own men
exclusively for dancing with,
though she leads on the green
carpeted dance floor, and dips
in all directions. Her partners
assimilate her moves through
the same methods used by
children at videotaped
weddings, their feet astride
the topsides of her fallen
arches in a kind of delicate
act of balance. Medusa’s feet
are hideous, of course.
Yours would be too if
bewitched to stone without
benefit of clippers and polish
or a proper investment in sandals. 

Of all the materiel Medusa
requisitions for her betters,
the most tenuous are boxes
and wrappers from boil-in-a-bag
peas and a full line of frozen
vegetables; to be collected and
cashed in for a giant among
the stuffed and sewn, hobbled
together anatomies that fail
in their approximations—
but that’s the point, is it not,
with Barbies and Kens and
even Skippers, lithe as
Medusa is squat, as a pigeon
she said, and laughed
about it, because pigeons
don’t topple, they hover.

Her boldest creation wrenched
from a toilet plunger as spine,
and neck, newsprint for guts,
the flesh of old t-shirts and jeans,
industrial rubber for gloves.
He was mistaken for the genuine
article, a victim fetishized
on the shelf of our garage.
The police were disappointed
when told he was a puppet:
A fiction brought to life-size
in the magnitude of his legend,
as Medusa herself might be
if the shock of her hair and face
were more accessible to
beauty in its mass conventions.

Jane Rosenberg LaForge is a novelist, poet, and memoirist in New York. Her novel is The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War (Amberjack Publishing). Her most recent collection of poems is Daphne and Her Discontents (Ravenna Press). Her memoir is An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy/A Fantastical Memoir (Jaded Ibis Press). More information is at jane-rosenberg-laforge.com.