Summer 1998 • Vol. XX No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 1998 |

Three Poems from Antigone: The Failed Sacrifice

TEIRESIAS:     . . . I was in the place of augury,      where all the birds of heaven find sanctuary,      when their beautiful songs were broken by a scream,      more screams, shrill cries, a strange, discordant dream      in which by slashing wings the air was stirred,      a whirlwind of wings, as every bird      turned on another, clawing with sharp talons,      tearing one another apart, and fell on      the living as on the dead.                      Shaken, I sought      benediction in a burnt offering, but      Hephaestus would not let the fire burn bright.      The thigh bones dripped a foul ooze—as if in fright—     which hissed and sputtered on the smoking ashes.      The gallbladder burst, blood and bile washing      out, and the raw fat melted, leaving bare      bone

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