Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a transgender autistic gay man with Borderline Personality Disorder. He's from Seattle and currently attends the Evergreen State College. He's been published by University of Amsterdam's Writer's Block, UC Davis' Open Ceilings, UC Riverside's Santa Ana River Review, UC Santa Barbara's Spectrum, and The New School's The Inquisitive Eater. His lifelong dream is to become the most banned author in human history. He's @RomanGodMercury on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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 1. didn’t she

    used to be

    the exception


born among gorgons

yet human


    yet beautiful

    the [           ]

    of her hair








of poseidon


    her hands trembled

    on temple floors


cold marble

could only be


    her welcome





raged of




every strand of her joy

grew into



    ending with fangs

    dripping with venom


only mortal soul

of her

gorgon sisters


    no longer beauty

    only beast


and how her stare

did turn sight

to statue


    2. didn’t she

    only want

    to protect herself





    punishment enough


she didn’t need

to have her beauty


    robbed from her





    as she hid

    came the man


the mortal perseus

was guided by the gods


    stalked her by

    the shoes of hermes


terrorized the



    stole their eye


cowered behind

athena’s mirrored shield


    from only there

    could she be [

    without stone


sliced her neck

with a sickle


    oh punish her

    for what was already





from her neck

blood wept


    smearing over

    his hands


at night cry

the gorgons

of their [       ]


    3. oh perseus


cleaned the blood

from his




    to him

    this was just

    another monster.



he took

the severed head


    and stowed it [         ]

    in his bag

    for safekeeping



reduce her to

a simple tool

a weapon.


    and with

    the object

    he made of her


he used

her dead gaze





turned king [        ]

to stone.


    after all

    her dead body

    was given

    no burial.


from object




    of all




didn’t she

used to be

the exception


    born among gorgons

    yet human.


today i threw out

the can of pineapple rings

because they got covered in mold.


i hadn’t thought

that a can of fruit

drowning in juice

could go bad so easily


as if all that acid

meant nothing.


when you eat

raw pineapple

the acids inside

eat away at meat


which is why you’re left with that

funky feeling


of chemicals

eating your tongue


& grill it

as a meat tenderizer.


tomorrow i will

go grocery shopping


& buy new cans of the

forbidden fruit.


acid juices


acid rings.


cheap tin somehow

won’t be eaten away


only thrown out

when it has lost

all that i can contain.


three (3) sprits

on my collarbone


one (1) sprit

on my left shoulder

one (1) sprit

on my left wrist


repeat on my right


two (2) sprits

just right above

my forehead


& then

i set the pink perfume

on the counter


& put on

my pink eyeshadow


just behind

my pink glasses


then i will put on

my dangly pink star earrings


later i will put on

my pink teddy bear purse


& drink from

my pink water bottles


sitting on my

fluffy pink chair pillow




with my perfume

i give myself


my own holy water

of flowers


spray it

kind of like

the cross


& i know that

a lot of people

think i look pretty funky


because i’m a

tattooed bearded buff guy


& my favorite color is pink


that pink flower water

gives me that

confidence boost




been a long time

since i last went to church


& i actually miss

being religious.


one day i think

i will go back


to my

gay church.


covered in rainbows

because god loves all.


but for now

i spray


my flower water

& thank this world


for all things

bright and beautiful.


float like a butterfly

sting like a bee


bite like a bed bug

roll like a scarab


weave like a spider

drink like a mosquito


dig like an earthworm

anger like a wasp


rub like a housefly

infest like a cockroach


eat like a termite

strut like a ladybug


spin like a silkworm

smell like a stinkbug


itch like a louse

follow like a moth


sing like a cricket

scream like a cicada


jump like a grasshopper

fly like a dragonfly


glow like a firefly

shimmy like a silverfish


threaten like an earwig

bite like a tick


shine like a beetle

slime like a slug


nomad like a snail

work like an ant


float like a butterfly

sting like a bee.