Behind the Writhing Hair and Glowing Eyes

Her skin is the ebony of tree bark,

Her hair and her uniform are both writhing shades of blue,

Her golden eyes are seen only in the badge she carries,

But she is not just skin,

Or hair,

Or golden eyes.


Her platoon does not know the meaning behind her sunglasses,

Why she will never look them in the eye,

Nor do they know why she carries no weapon,

Or why she insists that she already has one,

They do not know her stories of ancient greece,

They have not heard her screams on the floor of the Acropolis of Athens,

They have not seen the tears that flood her memory,

They have not seen her lip quiver when an unknown man enters the room, 

They do not know why she fears the sea.


What they know is what she wishes them to know,

That her wife's name is Athena, 

That together they own a women’s shelter,

That she is more beautiful than any woman they have ever seen,

And that she is far more terrifying

That her lips are as red as fresh blood,

That her teeth glisten like knives,

That even when there is no wind, her braids dance and twirl,

That she is never late for her shift,

That she knows something is wrong before dispatchers do,

That her strength is unrelenting

That she does not shake in the presence of evil,

That her heart is more powerful than a thousand men,

That she is the best domestic violence detective New York has ever seen.


Tonight, she saved a little girl from her father,

Yesterday, a wife from her husband,

Men no longer turn to stone in her presence,

They are no longer preserved for eternity,

They now sit behind stone walls, 

They now rot and decay, 

For immortality is only meant for the loving,

She is here to ensure that.


Many still believe Athena cursed her with her eyes,

A curse so that she could look upon no man, 

So that she was doomed to isolation,

This is a lie,

Athena held her hand and looked her in the eyes,

The Goddess of war gave her a weapon that could never fail her,

One that could protect her against even the greatest threats,

And together they watched tyranny burn,

Athena saved her, 

Rescued her from the very situation she now works to stop, 


History has focused on her eyes, 

On the golden glimmer that brought civilizations to their knees,

On the weapon of a woman she had become, 

That woman still stands,

Though her eyes may be hidden,

Her voice has never been more heard,

Hear her voice, 

Hear Medusa,

And you shall know protection.

This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world


Annette M Velasquez

This is a very intricate, multidimensional poem. You have not only skillfully reworked the ancient myth, but also incorporated rich imagery, metaphors, and analogy- all of these are important poetic tools. But, in addition you have also made a powerful societal statement- using the foundation of the myth, transforming it into something positive, empowering. Your poem impacts on many levels, it shows creativity, imagination, and originality. Congratulations on winning the contest! It was well deserved.


This was beautifully written! I felt so many things while reading this poem so I hope others have the pleasure of reading this delight as well. I love the message you send about how her assumed "curse" is now a gift of protection. You creatively turned the story of Medusa into something much more amazing. Congratulations on winning the scholarship, you deserve it!

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