The Sea Cannot Turn to Stone

CW: Sexual Violence

The Sea Cannot Turn to Stone
Photo by deepigoyal / Unsplash

by Allison Walters Luther

How many times had dusk found her outside?
Birds singing their night-song
Avoiding a sun
Almost as harsh as the burning eyes of the goddess
And her curse
A goddess long gone
But Medusa must forever remain where she was
As she was

How many times had she watched the sun sink into the sea?
Knowing men would not come in the twilight
The dark more dangerous to them than to her
Grateful for the cool air
The kiss of relief at another day gone
With hands unsullied and

How many statues had she thrown into the sea?
Men turned to stone
Victors without victories
Without their trick mirrors
Reflecting the living
But not the cursed
Who must be

How many sunsets are there in an age?
Marking time with
Each sleeping sun
Whispering long-ago songs
Nearly forgotten from an ancient youth
The hair she loved to brush now
A writhing mass of silent snakes
For what use is beauty anyway
When you are

How many ages had ended?
The old world gone
The old gods vanished
No more men coming
To conquer a monster
Only the ancient juniper trees
Leaving her

How many hours had she sat?
Or mere minutes
Listening at the door
Hearing no voices
No laughter
No clanging sword nor shield
Only soft footsteps
Proving she was no longer

How many seconds did she wait?
Opening the door
Just a crack
To hide her face
But still be heard
Over the warning waves
“Go away, it’s not safe.
Leave me

How many heartbeats passed?
Before the answer
A woman’s voice
No masculine rasp
“There is no need to fear.
I will not harm you.
Please listen
And if you wish,
I will leave you

How many breaths taken?
Since she last cried
“I am not afraid for myself.
It is not safe for you!
Do you not know who
I am?
Do you not know the
You must leave me

How many stars fell?
In that eternal instant
Waiting for the reply
Certain there would be silence
And she could
Once again be

How far had the Voice traveled?
To find her here
“I know who you are,
I know who cursed you
And why
It was not your
And you shouldn’t have to be

How many tears fell?
Memories of
The Temple
Cursed by a wrathful goddess
Furious at the desecration of her
Sacred space
But giving no thought of Medusa’s
As another god took
What he wanted
Why should the goddess deny him his pleasure?
After all, Medusa shouldn’t have been there

How many lies had she told?
To herself
That the curse was all her fault
And it was best
That she was

How many words were said?
Halting, imperfect Greek
Struggling to understand
“The curse you believe in
Was cruel
I’ve studied the writings
Of those who were there
Trust me
You do not have to be

How many hopes did she have?
More than the stars in the sky
But now,
Daylight beckoning
She opened the door
And was no longer

How many screams had she screamed?
Screams becoming a sigh
In the instant she beheld
The Voice
Who told her
She didn’t need to be

How many shades of blue were there?
Mixed with green
Shining eyes in
The Voice’s face
The sea made human
And not stone
Not a man
No sword nor shield
Just a woman
And now she was not

How many stories had been told?
About Medusa
Her curse
She had always believed
She could not look upon a mortal
Without turning them to
And it was safer to live
Never dying

How many times did the Voice smile?
“Medusa, the curse was not what you
Heard it to be
In your distress
It is not that you
Cannot look upon a mortal
You cannot look upon a mortal man.
So long as you are with women,
You do not have to be

How many tears fell at those words?
Knowledge once drowned
By her pain
Clear now
Burden lifted
She took the hand
Of the Voice
Stepped into the
No longer

How many dawns would they watch?
Holding each other
Never to let go
And loving
That the nights were no longer empty
And they would never again
Have to be

Let’s face it, Allison Walters Luther is a mess. She grew up in Southern Indiana and has since lived in England, Florida, Southern California, and Washington state. A writer since the age of seven, she has Brain Dragons instead of Plot Bunnies and they frequently battle each other, leaving Allison a weeping, distracted blob. Her use of imagery has been called ‘immersive’ and she frequently leaves stories open-ended, dashing off into the sunset and cackling “No story is ever really over!” You can learn more about her at or find her on Twitter as @AllisonLuther.