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Medusa’s head (fragment )

(...) the story was not only missing the author's name, but also the title. How can someone write something and not caring about the title? So some talked about it as “Waiting for Perseus”, after one sentence at the beginning, and others as “I am you”, which, ignoring all grammatical rules, was placed at the end. Anyway, the term being almost over and the university entrance exams so close, and knowing that in a couple of months everyone would follow their own way and they would perhaps never meet again, class 2D resigned to not knowing the answers to the enigma. According to Celia, all those mysteries were of little importance, because the important issue was whether the story was beautiful or not.

I cleaved the tenuous air with the rustling wings. All around me, storm gathered together its heavenly flocks, Jupiter guided the bowed rays and Aurora was ready to open the gates and to let out the fire chariot. Flying through the ether with the sandals stolen from the nymphs, I felt like a bird or a god. I was an arrow thrown towards the beautiful monster that, unknowingly, was waiting for Perseus. Gusts of wind caressed my naked body, so high up, invulnerable to storms, lightning and fire. Flying like a bird or a god. Nevertheless the winged sandals did not have feathers but membranes, like the wings of crickets or bumblebees. Crickets chirping in my childhood evenings on Serifos. Oh mother, why did I let myself go on wine, that wild night on Serifos, promising Medusa’s head to Polydectes. Sour wine, like the one made from unripe grapes, only the wind blowing near the gods' home could dissipate the hangover that still digs its claws into my head. Wind gusts caressing my body, like the hands of nymphs, of girls. To fly, to fly forever.

Mother, Danaë, King Polydectes did not care about Medusa’s head. It was an excuse to keep your son away, to dig his claws into your body. Away from your music, from your fireside stories. Learning shrewdness from others, stealing the Phorcydes only eye, “poor us!” said the old crones. It is better to fly, to fly forever. But now, they say, I am a hero. I am the son of Jupiter, who raped you like a golden rain. I must behave like a hero, like a bully. Fly, as if the cockroach-wing sandals were Mercury´s own. Bragging with Hades’ black Borsalino hat, imitating the gangsters. Mother, my throat is dry and I cannot drink seawater. I had to cross the Styx. I am a hero. And there is she, waiting for Perseus.

I am getting to the Hyperboreal regions, where Medusa looked for the shelter that she will find nowhere. Perhaps she wishes that I would separate her head from the body, ending her disgrace. Mother, you never told me if, when Jupiter fell on you like the rain, you did feel pleasure or pain. What did Medusa feel when Neptune forced her? But these questions should not to be asked by heroes. Heroes do not ask, they do not doubt, they simply act. For that purpose I carry a diamond sickle. To cut a head, like one who cuts the sacred mistletoe from the branch of the apple tree. I shall cut her head, and cover it with flowers.

It is hard to come down from the air to the merciless earth. Being careful not to look Medusa into the eye. Avoiding her paralysing gaze. Looking only through the bronze mirror. Watching your reflection in the mirror. Searching for your face, so beautiful. But I do not see your face reflected in the bronze. What do I see in the mirror but my own face? I am you.

I take off my black hat, but the face in the mirror is still mine. Only then do I turn my head. I tangle my gaze in yours. You are me. Why are your eyes full of tears? Why am I not turned into stone? I am just inflamed in desire. I desire you to desire me, woman with unique hair, face of my face, body of my body. Without knowing it, I was waiting for Medusa. I will place your face on my chest, in my heart. I will prick a finger with the diamond sickle, as they must be shown blood, then, flung it so that it may compete with the sickle-shaped moon. I will throw the sandals away, if they are useless in order to fly with you. As we make love the waters boil under the Atlas. I am you.

Feria del libro de La Habana


Moongrass (fragment)


On a September night

of full moon and high tide

when the fishes come up all together,

like a silver herd,

to the top of the sea

to swim the full moon dance

and octopuses with their long arms

pull the seaweeds off the seabed

throwing them onto the beach…


Helena made a boat with her bed

and sails with the bed sheets

–Sshh, Sshh– while mama and papa slept

she convinced the window

not to squeak when opened

and huffing and puffing

(and sometimes rowing with a spoon

through the clouds)

she went up to the moon

looking for moongrass for her rag sheep.

Because rag sheep are very finicky

and they only eat the grass that grows on the moon:

blue grass, blue like the eyes of scallops

subtle like rice paper

which tastes of sea and green walnuts.


Moongrass can only be harvested

on the full moon because in crescent or waning∫

the moon cuts like a sickle

or she can stab you with a horn,

and on the new moon there is no room

for the grass to grow

or even to put your feet.


Helena arrived up there

and the first thing she found

was the moonfish

that is always dizzy

because it has to turn to its silver side on the full moon

and to its dark side on the new moon

and on the crescent or waning moon it spins like a top

uncertain about what to do


and Helena said:

—Moonfish scaled from head to end

on the moon you are my first friend

whisper softly in my ear:

Will I find grass for my sheep so dear?


But the moonfish was busy turning to its silver side

and it answered rather rudely:

—I am the swift swimming moonfish

’m not a friend who would grant you a wish

I don’t want to be preserved in a jar of glass

And I don’t care if you find any grass.


Helena had to keep walking

and she found the moonmouse

who nibbles away at the full moon because it tastes like cheese

and sleeps through the new moon when it’s full.

and Helena said:

—Little guy, cute moonmouse

on the moon you have a pretty house

whisper softly in my ear:

Will I find grass for my sheep so dear?


But the moonmouse was busy nibbling at the moon

And it answered a bit rudely:

—I am the moonmouse with my nice long tail

but I don’t offer fortune-telling for sale

and you can be sure I couldn’t care less

if your search is not a big success


(translation: Marilar Aleixandre & Minia Buongiorno)

Infantil e xuvenil
"Moonfish scaled from head to end
on the moon you are my first friend
whisper softly in my ear:
Will I find grass for my sheep so dear?"