“Fix on Oedipus your eyes, who resolved the dark enigma, noblest champion and most wise. Like a star his envied fortune mounted beaming far and wide: now he sinks into seas of anguish, whelmed beneath a raging tide…”
—Sophocles from Oedipus Rex.
Ma was at it again last night chewing away on a fried chicken leg in the garage pushed up against the double stacked washing machine trying to reconcile what was and what is. She was a crazed wolf traumatized out of her craven mind—her greasy head tilting toward the gleaming twilight. It was twilight—not the film—and ma was raging against the cosmic crush of emotions and boomeranging between WTF and LHFAO. Ma threw her greasy hands up into the air surrendering them to some holy nonsense she saw above. Glowing, she said, fried chicken leg in hand. Ma said she heard voices in her ears—the chatter of angels, perhaps—I wasn’t planning on telling you, ever, ma said they said. As I moved my feet toward ma’s body, inch by inch, she struggled to contain her sobs as I got closer. She threw her fried chicken leg to the floor. I kissed ma. Twice on the forehead. I am her daughter. I know that sooner or later she will collapse into a womb and cement herself into herself and seal all the light out except for blue, so I cradled ma and she cradled me back. Hard. Then Harder. And she softened as we kept it up like rock stars cradling each other through the night. I rocked ma into sleep but she refused the silent din. I don’t want to sleep, ma said, because it’s louder than silence. What’s louder than silence, I asked ma as I slung my skinny arms around her thick neck. Shame, she said. That’s when ma finally opened her big black beetle eyes and spoke as clear as Christmas.
AROUND CHRISTMAS, 2011
He knew, ma said. Knew what, I asked.