The Biting Medusa

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Dear Reader,

Sometimes medusas aren’t laughing: sometimes we’re biting. We’ve had a lot on our minds lately—things that intrigue us, things that move us, and even things that provoke us. We hope the pieces those thoughts have inspired do the same for you. If something in this world brings out your own bite, pick up a pen and submit to our zine next year. In the meantime, submit your polished literary fiction, poetry, and art to The Laughing Medusa—this zine’s cool, sophisticated aunt— by emailing

the one time i forgot to buckle my seatbelt

the number of times i unlatched your belt buckle juxtaposed with the ferocity of my knees buckling when i found out she had done it too i have fingernails the color of raspberry jam with which i would jam nails into your open palms if i still thought you had a holy body kate oksen


Mama, I want to go to the times before men and see what you would be. Before they whittled the crescendos of your sides, before they filled your body with birth, before they kneaded pins into your tenderness. For now, your mind has clocks taped to the veins which make you live with the lights on mute. And there is always a book sewn into the creases of your eyes. Mama I’d like to know your youth, to see it bud among the bare earth unimpeded by Adam’s wars, green of his hubris. The ground would yearn to kiss your gait, the seas would swell in anticipation of your skin, Mother your breath would be refined gold, stripped of impurities. I would not be. And yet, something in the universe, some tiny soulless fibres, would be glad to give up their potency, for you. Mama I’d like to know your youth, to see it bud among the bare earth unimpeded by Adam’s wars, green of his hubris. christin snyder

celia smithmier

locally grown

Your refrigerator is lined with greek yogurt and specialty cheeses, fresh cilantro, blueberries and Jersey tomatoes, sparkling water and sparkling cider and spiked seltzer crowd its door but I still think my eyes would shine brighter if you only sustained yourself with cheap beer and old takeout. That would make it a lot easier for me to say no when you ask if I’ll stay for dinner. I set the table while you pour extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan. This is like a farmers market stand with too many peaches piled on top of one another. The bruised ones at the bottom— Not the best, but still good.

I told you all these bruises healed but I still feel them ache when you press into me. kate oksen

late november

she drinks coffee: thick nails creep on the tattered smooth brick find an imprint I dare you the sugar undissolved. specks of strain swim in her raw mouth unphased by taste: her shadow sonja goldman

ji-won ha

for your everyday french class pseudo-intellectual

You find it endearing when I call you un petit chou, but the pleasure is my own, emasculating you in a foreign tongue and of all les legumes, not even a phallic one. But you are better suited for un pomme de terre, lurking among the parasites, the filthy, fleshy starch, praying we pluck you, or rather, fuck you, I’ll settle on dégoûtant, because it mimics the vile gagging that one day I might finally let overcome me when you speak. christin snyder

kate oksen

celia smithmier

back west This is the thing about hating yourself on a Tuesday in Roxbury the thing is that the devil’s in the details and I was raised in South Arizona where air is hot and dry rubble in your parched gully of a girl-throat and you can maybe see hell there if you close your eyes hard enough with face turned to the sun and desert and desert forever, but not him, not the man, not the king, He’s sitting in your toothbrush in Roxbury because we are back again and he is asking, sweetly, if you want to maybe push this down your throat, dear, my sweetie, flower-thing, don’t you want to choke yourself on whatever’s within reach and in Arizona they said I had long arms like ribbons and I still do so my reach is long, is forever, is to sharp things and hot stove tops and the red and white little ones on the shelf of the vanity so I know there are options but there also aren’t because I can’t move my hands right, they are flinching in record-scratch stutter time so that I have to sit on them and watch my thighs bend up and out like soft bags of icing, the kind you press to push out on cake like we did for people’s birthdays back in Arizona, back in the yellow house that we lived in with the blue shutters where everyone came in and didn’t take off their shoes just to hear you yell and I said sorry all the time and thank you less often but still a lot and never really knew why. Still don’t. bailey flynn

celia smithmier

#prayerfor2017 This culture is draining me faster than Snapchat slurps at my battery and aren’t you over only seeing lovely pink faces through cracked screens? I want to see what the sunset looked like without digitization and saturation and XXI Pro and I want to smile at the toothy grin of your seven year old cousin at her birthday party. You were likeable, beautiful before before millennial pink cloaked concrete, before your name was misspelled on a soon-to-be-in-a-landfill coffee cup with the green plastic straw that might end up in a turtle’s nose someday. Don’t you want the sidewalk ending to just be a reference to Shel Silverstein, to your elementary school library? I want to hear your lips pull back around your teeth. Candid. Whoever said take a picture it lasts longer never missed the fireworks trying to get a late night sparkler gram. I’d argue it’s impossible to take a cute photo on the 4th when you’ve been shot gunning beers all day with your semi-functional alcoholic uncle and chewing on Shoprite holiday special burgers and your Better Than Sex mascara loses its libido and stops performing like it once did. The cameras aren’t the problem. If I added up all our nights wasted reading Tweets about how we were wasting our time—fuck I could have counted the stars by then and at least that would have been a cute date and a breeze would have jostled my sun bleached hair and there’d be dew drops and grass blades and a boy and mosquitos licking my skin all at once and I’d be itchy and sticky and maybe even kind of wet but goddamn at least I would have felt something. I don’t know how to capture or caption this but it’s shitty and it’s messy and it’s pixelated and I need it to just be mine. I want my kids to pore through tattered scrapbooks of me when I was young filled with Polaroids and napkin notes, crushed rose petals and concert ticket stubs pulled out of the pockets embroidered with you but all I’ll have to give is a username account and password. In twenty years what will your bio say? What does 140 characters say about your character. kate oksen

ji-won ha