Copyright 2012 by K. Writerly
Gorgons are not born. They are made.
“Do you know my name?” I wonder aloud, challenging my guests. “Do you know why I am here in this wasteland?”
I receive no answer to my utterances. The wind outside my ramshackle stone hut shrieks, enraged that I would dare to pose such questions. It howls as if I am the one who must answer its summons. It is tempting to shriek back, gods-damned creature that I am. Tempting, but I refrain. I may be a creature, a beast, a murderess, but I am not an animal. I will not howl my rage uselessly into the wind. I will wait for my fury to cool, to temper, to harden and sharpen like the blade of a knife. My anger will serve me. I will not serve it.
I ignore the wind and continue my tale, “I was a priestess of the great Temple of Hera. I was a healer. I was the very vessel of the goddess herself.” Yes, I was all of those things. I was blessed with divine purpose and power.
“I was sought out by women for my skill at wielding Hera’s gifts. The gift of children. They came to me, begging, wanting only to conceive and carry their husband’s child. The priestesses at Aphrodite’s temple offered only pleasure and the satiation of desires. The Temple of Hera offered so much more: immortality through birth, through motherhood. These women gave their trust and themselves to Hera through me. I touched them. I taught their bodies how to bear fruit.” I pause and consider my own form, clothed as it is in rough wool. My body will never know that ripening.