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Self-Portrait as Oedipus, Cleaning House


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Oedipus has taken all the small brown
vials and clear blue bottles that lined
the window ledge and smashed them on the tile

floor of the breakfast nook. They were favorites
of his mother and wife. The State will not
grant him to carve himself open, to run

a warm bath and loose a raised vein.
He crushes the broken glass into smaller
pieces with his bare, dirty, clubbed foot.

The pads of his feet are not soft—a thick
rawhide baseball glove. Turning off his oscillating
fan, he mixes ammonia in a pail

with bleach—in the gas he sees the rotten
head of his father atop the lion
body of the Sphynx, who sings to him,

"A man crawls, walks, hobbles after death."
"My foot hurts," Oedipus answers,
"I see that I must now scoop my eyes out."


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post #229
bio: john ball
perma-link
4/4/2008
09:19

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