So I'm a Gorgon, and That's Okay

I awoke one morning to the squirming of my hair, as if it was trying
to slither away of its own accord. Naturally, I felt that was rather odd.
So I slid out of bed and performed all the usual morning rituals
before looking into the mirror only to find that not
a single strand of my luxuriant black hair was there, replaced by a nest of snakes, what kind
I didn't know – something poisonous, no doubt.

Which is something that you probably feel right now, doubt.
However, I need you to try
to understand that there was a basis for this happening, this was not some kind
of hoax and nothing was odd
or strange about it. People already avoided my gaze, having learned not
to look at me when I'm overcome with with ticks or fail to perform my rituals.

The frustration that explodes from me during an interrupted ritual
is not something that you want to experience, nor my paralyzing glare. So doubt
all you want. I've always known the gorgon within, whose obsessive thoughts cannot
be turned away so easily. God knows I've tried.
Yet the little repeated behavior does help for the odd
few seconds to keep the pressure cooker of stress from an explosion of some kind.

I do my best to be kind
and to fit in this perfect Instagram world. My rituals,
although they seem odd,
are a needed coping mechanism. There is no doubt
that I'm trying.
It's just that I fail more often than not.

So these snakes were not
something new, a new kind
of trial or torture trying
to destroy those in my sight. Like the rituals
that must be performed, I doubt
not that I own these beasts too, however odd.

So I will name them each in their odd
fashion whether you like it or not:
Anxiety born of doubt,
Remorse for all those frustrating failures of kindness,
Compulsion the force behind all rituals,
and Resignation in knowing that day after day one must continue trying.

Now there is no doubt in my mind that I am not odd
or whatever freakish label you try to place on me, and I'm most certainly not
a monster, that some hero beheads, instead of kindly looking beyond this and all my rituals.

Author Reading

About the Author

TS S. Fulk lives with his family in Örebro, Sweden where he works as an English teacher and a textbook author. Besides teaching and writing, TS is an active musician who plays bass trombone, the Appalachian mountain dulcimer and the Swedish bumblebee dulcimer (hummel). His poetry has been published by, or is forthcoming in, Red Ogre Review, The Ekphrastic Review, The Button Eye Review, Perennial Press, Lovecraftiana, and Wingless Dreamer. Find him on Instagram @tssfulk_poet.