I’d had enough of masks,
            Of plaster, papier-mâché, moulds
            Positive and negative – 
            It had become cliché to find 
            In every image my reflected gaze
            No matter how I turned my hand 
            Upon the clay

            And when I recognised in lovers too
            My signature, I packed my bags

            Travel, respite, foreign soil,
            Faces so uniquely strange
            Helped me to anonymity

            And in the church where Dante
            Set his sights on Beatrice,
            That dark and simple haven
            With its welcoming austerity and cool,
            I understood one might escape
            What was within to be enlightened by
            What lay without

            Exhilarated I prepared for my return
            And strolled once more along the Loggia dei Lanzi
            On the way to my pensione 

            Under Cellini’s famous bronze,
            A resident for centuries, I paused

            The beauty of Medusa’s face
            Was far more suited to have launched a thousand ships
            Than to have turned whoever looked on her to stone

            I studied it from every angle
            For a clue, a key, an answer, a solution –
            Even a hint that might explain
            Such a perversion of mythology

            And only as I puzzled could I see
            The greater mystery:
            Perseus’s features were the same, 
            The slayer and the slain were as alike as twins

            I turned for hours in the piazza
            Contemplating difference and identity

            Was it the wine or coffee I had swilled
            And was I yet again imagining

            Or had Perseus just shown me 
            I achieved a victory over myself?


            Emanuel E. García, Sojourns2014