Gorgon, they cry.
Hideous, repulsive, Terrible
So ugly she'd freeze you in your tracks-- forever.
But her ugliness is hard won
And she wears it with a chin held high,
The eyes of a survivor flashed to the world like a vicious baring of teeth.
Her head is shaved,
Snakes entwine over, around, under her ears and across her neck
Covering her like chain mail;
Snakes, vilified for being crafty, for being survivors, for not being an honorable pure animal
But feared and respected and admired all the same
By all but the incredibly naive, or pridefully ignorant.
Some are blessed with beauty,
But for others it is a curse.
She was one of the latter, like so many others--
Like too many others--
Who were hunted for their pelts, their skins
For the quality, the lustre, the rarity of their appearance,
Another wild thing to be made a trophy.
But, wisdom blessed her with ugliness:
Ugliness, and the power to protect herself.
All pale in comparison to the power she now wields
In the flash of her eyes.
Snakes rattle to warn away those who would dare approach them,
If they're kind.
The tattoos, the laugh like a hiss--
They are the rattle; they are her mercy.
But her venom, her venom is in the eyes--
Not poison, never again poison--
And it burns, a slow icy burn as feeling leaves and cruel, dead stone forms,
A feeling that she knows all too well.
Of course, those with reason to fear her venom, her stare
Cry her a monster,
Scream for her death,
So that she may finally be hung high on a wall, a symbol of man's triumph,
Where She belongs.
This all sounds terribly lonely, of course, a life spent among cries for her death
Until you realize that this one vilified, degraded, scorned, outcast woman,
A clear evildoer rightfully pursued and slain,
Is not alone.
The Gorgons were sisters--
The Terrible in their native greek--
And there was safety in numbers, they found.
And although there were only three of them recorded back then,
There are now scores upon scores of women in their ranks,
Who wear the term like the badge of honor it is,
A trophy finally won for themselves, to hold in a glass case inside their heart
A trophy that puts all of theirs to shame:
Gorgon, they cry--