Medea Imagines by Cezarija Abartis

She imagined the body of Jason beneath her knife. Imagined him asleep on his stomach beside his new bride.

On his back: the bruise from the bull, the wounds from the soldiers’ arrows, the kiss on his neck from the lips of his young bride. Medea had been a young bride once.

He would turn in his sleep with a wheeze, bubble of spit rising on his lips, soft lips.

She would sacrifice children, country, brother, father. She would destroy the world for this faithless man.

The knife would be smooth in her hand. It tilted away. She could not do it. Pity gushed out of her like blood from the slash in the neck.

She looked at her own wrist. Here the crescent-shaped scar from when she was a child playing with her brother; he pushed her against the throne. He cried when she pushed him back.

Mother said, She shouldn’t have done it, he was smaller.

Father said, Boy shouldn’t have done it.

Should she do this? Hiss or stay; kiss or kill; kill or be killed; kill, kill. Separate head from body. Separate.

She imagined his sweet body with all its kisses.

She dropped the knife.


Cezarija Abartis has published a collection, Nice Girls and Other Stories (New Rivers Press) and stories in Baltimore Review, Bennington Review, FRiGG, matchbook, Waccamaw, and New York Tyrant, among others. Recently she completed a crime novel. She lives and writes in Minnesota.