Medusa Rides the Greyhound

This poem won Third place in the 2016 2-Day Poem Contest

Everything is rain.

Ocean and land have flipped

for one another. Day's becoming night

and I swear I see a hydra swim up to my window.

He looks at my sunglasses and laughs.

 

The bearded lady at my side,

reeking of synthetic flowers and snoring

for the last two hours, is suddenly animate

and carping: How long's this going to last?

It didn't say rain on the TV weather. I checked.

That driver's just plain crazy if he don't pull over.

 

Crazy if he does. The highway, the ditch,

that gas bar and diner where we all get

fifteen minutes for a pee and a sandwich,

have sloughed away into other days.

We've floated us straight into Styx, and we're stalled.

Under my toque, the snakes grow fervent.

I threaten to prune away the next one who hisses.

 

Sound pared to the random hammer of drops,

the ca-dunk ca-dunk of the hazard lights,

spritzing their rhythm into drizzly shadows.

We're all getting hinky,

checking our phones,

wringing our hands.

I knew this was a bad idea. I can think of ten

other routes that would've been better,

my seatmate beaks again, and I'm coming

to see her as my own special furuncle, pulsing with pus

and ready to pop. I've crossed know-it-alls like her before.

I almost raise my glasses to give her the eye,

but I'm trying to be better.

 

I want to tell her, tell everyone, it's all my fault.

My bad fortune, rearing again. You can rub your lucky emerald,

toss the salt over your shoulder, knock on every kind of wood,

but when you're with me, you're cursed.

 

Dear fellow passengers, I'm sorry for the delay. The storm.

The stench of anxiety we're all trying not to breathe.

Didn't think about you, your plans,

your granddaughter's birthday Barbie

tucked under panties in your old green suitcase.

 

I'm searching for my place here.

Need to start over. Reinvent.

Look past my stone cold stare and listen:

I'm not really such a monster.

Published online July 05 2016.

This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.