Askold Skalasky


How are you? she asks, barely

slowing her steps, and I reply,

What a beautiful afternoon!


It’s a language with one eye

that we pass to each other,

like crones in the Lybian foothills,

gray and ragged, their jawbones

jutting out of the dim cave.


What little secret they know

they’ve already told the magic-

born hero after he snatches

the eyeball from their bony hands,

and, hearing the next step

of his quest, ingrate, throws it

into the Tritonian Lake,


impatiently on his way

to the Gorgon’s lair (still

needing a pouch and cap

from the mysterious maidens,

then more help, from gods

no less, and finally some luck,

before he kills the inexpressible

serpent head dying with a hiss

reflected on his polished shield).


The rawboned hags,

the darkness added now

to their diminished sense,

are left with their one tooth,

large yellow molar curved

backwards like a sickle blade,

with nothing more to say.



*from a root denoting a guttural, growling sound




More poetry from Askold Skalsky

Colloque Aux Folies Bergere
The Persistence Of Summer
Les Adieux
Elephant Herds
Testing Time


Askold Skalasky is a former community college professor, whose poems have appeared in numerous small press magazines and journals, most recently in freefall and The Dos Passos Review.

~ by jwoodall on September 20, 2009.

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