she was foolish and fell,
fell for one who cared nothing for her.
his reputation preceeded him but surely he loved her.
it was different with her, after all.
she gave him every waking moment,
every thought, every word.
late nights lit by a glowing screen,
waiting for a text back,
shy smiles in the hall, lingering,
waiting for him to notice her.
he was her whole world,
she was his conquest.
she trusted him until she didnt.
after he took everything from her,
used her, discarded after the party like an empty solo cup,
emptied her of her soul,
of her safety,
of any trust she had left for men.
when she put her clothes back on when he left,
she put on her battle armor:
scales to protect her,
venom to defend her,
a steely gaze to separate her
from the rest of the gullible ones.
her black nail polish glinted like scales.
her words dripped with venom.
her eyes froze those in her path.
hallway shouts fell to whispers.
the boys called her a snake,
words that hit her leather jacket and rolled off.
but some stuck in the scales,
wedged their way in like maggots.
her boots clicked-
they called her a whore.
she answered their catcalls with a rigid finger straight to the sky,
as small as her self confidence,
as unmoving as the wall around her heart.
the teachers saw her chokers and called her a punk.
they thought she should be nicer to the "good boys".
lose the tight pants, she might be asking for trouble.
give them what they want.
look happier, like a girl.
ah but she wasnt a girl.
she was a goddess, broken, bruised, and betrayed.
when the new boy came into her life, she was heartless-
strengthened her scales,
thickened her vemon,
sharpened her gaze.
but he was patient.
he knew when she needed space.
engaged her in a dance,
like a snake-charmer.
the names didnt stop him.
her defenses kept him always at arms length
but he stayed.
silently walked beside her in the hall,
lent her pens in class, always black ink.
scale by scale,
drip by drip,
glance by glance,
she learned to love again.
they still called her a snake.
her finger still answered them.
but there was one soul in the world,
who slipped through the cracks of her scales,
who warmed her heart and her blood,
and shone light on her soul once more.
medusa of the modern day.
a brave and bruised woman warrior.
she is your daughter, your sister, your classmate.
she is your friend, your girlfriend, your wife,
she is you.
she is me.
the myths say medusa lost, her head separated from her body.
but experience says medusa won.
in each moment, each breath,
each fighting stance,
each day that a woman stands up to the world-
stands despite her trauma,
despite her memories that haunt her every night.
medusa is not just in your history books.
she is in your classes, in your schools,
in your workplace, in your home.
she has won the battle
and she will win the war.