Another Oedipus Story

Oedipus at Colonus by Jean-Antoine-Théodore Giroust, 1788


Another Oedipus Story


The familiar dream follows him
one busy Sunday into the thick 
of a crowd in a bazaar.

Small words roll like pebbles
in a pitcher, laughter like quick
money from a loosened fist.

He sees herds of white cows, endless
pastures, a city where the dead
outnumber the living. 

He sees a man he must kill,
a woman who will bear his children,
the staff he leans on, the Sphinx. 

Colors burn on his eyelids–swift,
painless flames. What
does it mean, to grow new eyes?

To keep them always open?
Whose life has he stumbled into,
while crawling along his own?

In the dream, the king wears his face.
His words are kind. He should
come to no harm, this king.

The veil lifts as his own hands
rise like eagles. In front of him,
thank Zeus, is the world he knows. 

Here, money and laughter still run 
like water, bare feet still splash
through orange rinds and nutshells.


First published in Orange Blossom Review, Issue 4, Summer 2020

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