View Archives by:


[To wash his bloodied hands, Perseus]

Boyer Rickel

To wash his bloodied hands, Perseus

placed Medusa’s snake-haired severed head

face-down on a bed of river grasses,

which hurt them into beauty: coral

the nymphs collected for jewelry. No wonder

my mother loved the Greek myths best,

at home with her youngest in the 1950s.

She opened picture books whose bronze

near-naked men drove their chariots’ horses—

black flame-like abstracts—with snarling

dog-faced whips; whose goddesses

floated off the pages in togas composed

of gauzy swirls. We’d sit on the living room floor

turning pages until the window ledge

glowed pink—time to set the table for dinner.

Boyer Rickel

Read Bio

Author Discusses Poems