Medusa With Fire

for Sascha, with love, 1960 — 1998, R.I.P.

The teddy bear on my bed wears
her hat now, a purple beret. She
wore it cocked to the side, her hair
flowed out from under it, wild, red
mingling with brown. When the wind
put motion to it she looked like
Medusa with fire instead of snakes.

Medusa knew enough
not to look in the mirror. My wife
looked, she stared, she was never
satisfied. But then, who is? Who
can say, “I have always accepted
what I see.” Yet we cannot drag
our eyes away, we curse, rake

our nails down the softness
stripping red blood lines, spit
at the reflection. That’s what

she did. Then she put that beret
back on, took out the needle
and put water on the heroin
in her spoon. The teddy bear

has glass eyes, eyes that don’t see
anything. Black eyes, eyes I can
look into, see myself staring back.