The Medusa Tree

We find her in a field, grass gone dustgold. No serpents undulating
around her face, split tongued. Maybe a rumour, that glance—
how she turned people to stone.

She’s returned as a birch, half-felled by an ice storm. Coiled branches
eeling around a white trunk, whiteness made whiter by the spruce behind.
All the old grievances: how Perseus cut off her head, didn’t sew shut
her eyes. Gave the head to Athena, decoration for a shield. Myth

of August, amphitheatre of weeds sloping to the creek, the birch,
such a drama queen. Nothing moves until a heron (disguised in the sedges)
steps, steps through glass. Tick of grass blades. Windswoon over the hill
where we stand, waiting.

The birch gazes back.

What did we think would happen?

~Anne Simpson

Anne Simpson has published seven books, including poetry, novels, and essays. Four of these have been Globe and Mail Top 100 Books. She won the Griffin Poetry Prize for her second book of poetry, Loop, in 2004. Her second novel, Falling, was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her newest collection of poetry – Is – was released in spring, 2011. She is currently working as Writer-in-Residence at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL.

Popular Posts