They had made a purity of his age.
That’ll show em, the old, storied, lament.
The streets he meandered upon were stoneless. A long time ago, before asphalt perhaps, they might have been tiled with weeds and indecision. A tumbleweed might have flown past, a bush of fire. Sunlight, hawks, the old seven stories.
Let me tell you of the seven stories, he feels his father’s hot, alcoholic breath against his throat.
There was a woman purported to wander the old town Nisenan, clad in white rubies, eye sockets lightless with grief. Her face was like a half-extinguished lamp, throwing fantastic shades of alarm across hectic surfaces. Her face was a tragedy of rage, they had made a purity of it, fashioned her visage into a ring that smited enemies to the left. They became stone-stricken mumblers, tongues lolling out, hands tipped upwards in benign supplication. They were statues; one could decorate their little gardens with them, place ivy vines and still pools of starshine around their feet.
Benighted man, he continued to speak.
“This was the tale of Medusa, our Medusa, the one of the old American West. Some hapless man had jilted her, sped off with her land and money and children. And when she retaliated, he gathered up all the men he could carry, and severed her head off with an old farming ax.
He wears her head as a ring, to this day. He was buried with it, over at old Central.”
But his mother told it differently. Pretty woman, with an apron made of pastel petals, he remembered her bending over the stove, tipping a wooden ladle to her luxuriant head.
[of course i don’t really ever think i stopped loving.
I don’t know anymore.]
Of course she was wrong, and as the fog swept whitely around my unbuttoned shoes, I wondered what the point of loving was. My mother found herself dead by the willows, blue shoes dangling lightly from the ground. My father had screamed then, andd my eyes. At night, I can hear him singing, liquory-sweet:
“Don’t worry, Adrian, don’t worry, don’t worry. Your mother is going to find you very, very soon.”
Off-key and kiltering, the lullaby haunts my soul.
I know now that the woman of the stories is Medea, or Antigone, and I saw her once at the old creek. She was beautiful, and the fog was rising from the Roseville concrete like a blanket. I saw that in her hands, she wore the pearl of her head, finally, she had won. I wanted to win too, so I shouted and hollered, jumped over the rickety wooden face that sealed Big Creek away from the world. But as I was running across that American moor, dotted with bluedicks and hyacinths, she swept her veil behind her and began to turn away. And the heat grew apparent, and the light began to feel dark, and I was back here again, wandering by the old neon inn, where the people come and fall. I picked up an old man from the cobblestone floors, (he screamed), and I found a notebook with a little golden pencil in its loop. I am still looking for Medea, and Antigone, Medusa, and the Earth itself, to this very day.
[I want a photograph of that time].
Yuna Kang is a queer, Korean-American writer based in Northern California. She has been published in journals such as Strange Horizons, Sinister Wisdom, and many more. They were also nominated for the 2022 Dwarf Stars Award. Their website link is: https://kangyunak.wixsite.com/website