LADY TIRESIAS: SEVEN YEARS A WOMAN


No form will do for this work. Augury is simply a job
to be done. I sit with head lowered, an unthreatening figure
at the well. Though blind, I can read the meaning in all lives
save my own. I know the meaning of the signs: the scorched
ivy climbing the courtyard wall, the rusting hasp
meant to hold the run-down gate, the virgin's furtive glance,
the snakes intertwined. No relief comes
at night. The first time I laid with a man I understood
the importance of whether a woman offers you her mouth or not,
a woman may offer what lies hidden below, but never that
which rises above: her heart, her hands, her lips, her mind.
By day, the crowds wait and wait and wait amid dust and disease.
The lines do not let up. Some dreaming of floods, others dreaming
of easier of work, the laborers patiently cue around, a braid
amid the prostitutes and bankers and fishmongers
for the one truth they already know. For it is always the same
utterance: an empty bed can rule your mind like fire.
I am a foreigner to this body, and no one will break bread
with me because the small-talk never comes easy.