Author: Kathryn DeZur

Near Hollywood and Vine, bright neon
against dirty gray wood throbs
pink for Girls, Girls, Girls,
All Live, All Nude,
All Girls.

She paints herself with kohl, notorious
red, vixen pink under dim vanity
lights, frayed flannel bathrobe belted
tightly. Volume annihilates

thought, her form onstage a pale
ghost in spotlights; she dances
the mambo alone, waiting for some ship
to come in. Charons line dank darkness

lapping the stage, rub
their beards, sip nightshade.
They dig deep into pockets, toss
coins she’ll pay as tolls
to a promised land,

where Desire appears, arrayed
in Coco Chanel.

My son is the one famed
for the pain of his insight,
but I too suffered.
I begged him not to dig deeper—
was his life nothing to him?
My own pain was enough for me to bear.
I tried seduction,
‘This talk is a waste of time,’
I said, stretched out to touch him.
But mystery lured him, the spoiled boy,
he had to see truth’s totality;
he’s just like his father that way.

Now I seek the harsh hand
of the rope’s embrace
above our bed
where once lightening cracked,
alternately blinding us with radiance and darkness
as his fingers slid across my belly,
dipped deep into my navel,
rose and surrounded my neck.
Did I want it, he wanted to know.

I wanted it.

When they find me,
they will say it was the guilt,
but how many men, in dreams,
have lain with their mothers?
How many women mother their lovers,
bring them into being, refine
and nurture existing matter,
add our heat to the process of creation?

It isn’t the guilt.
He will be unable to look at me.
His eyes will no longer linger

over secret spaces—
whence he came
and whence he went.
I will be robbed of my image,
reflections of myself unmasked—
not as queen, not mother, not wife—
but as naked Jocasta.

Ah miserable.
That is the only word I have for him now.
That is the only word I can ever have.