308 Readings

Gnossienne No. 4

Perseus and Medusa perched on boulders watch the evening news. Blue TV light touches them in a perfectly dark cave. Trickling water just audible, punctuated by nearer bouncy sound of water in a struck steel bowl.

PERSEUS: Mary, tell me what he looks like.

MEDUSA: Gaunt. Greek I think. Straight teeth…

PRESENTER: …inside the church had earlier chanted slogans against Egypt’s Islamist President—

PERSEUS: —they’re playing footage.


PERSEUS: Who’s bombing who.

MEDUSA: Oh stop. You know it’s not real.

PERSEUS: I don’t know that. You stone him.

MEDUSA: How could I. He’d have to see me

PRESENTER: …attacked mourners as they exited the cathedral, pelting them with rocks and petrol bombs. The Christians—

PERSEUS: How do you do it.

MEDUSA: How. Oh.

PERSEUS: That’s what I’ve wondered.

MEDUSA: Ever wonder if the light’s still on in the fridge after you close it.


MEDUSA: Well. You know Jasper Johns. The numbers.

PERSEUS: You have any non-visual metaphors.

MEDUSA: Here, take this. (she folds his hand around a piece of charcoal)


MEDUSA: It’s charcoal. I want you to make a self-portrait on the wall to your left.

PERSEUS: But I can’t see.

MEDUSA: That’s the point.

PERSEUS: I don’t know how to draw. 

Medusa takes his hand, starts him off. Perseus continues unaided.

PRESENTER: …said a fire had started in a building next to the Cathedral, but the blaze had since been extinguished. In Kabul twenty-six…

MEDUSA: Ah, you see. You’ve done it. No likeness of Perseus, but Perseus himself. Wonderful.

Posted 04/28/19