The corpse is present now, I said again.
Has it not asked its next question yet?
Or did you fail to voice the right reply,
In which case you now wear the wrong head?
You do, I would say, look somewhat pale,
As if brain had been drained of blood supply.
The head that knows more is the better head,
And that head sits atop the mute corpse.
It's an uneasy silence that we two share,
Silence too great for truth to break through.
This time around it posed me a riddle
Much too complex for quick solution.
I've gone miles beyond the previous mark,
The furthest the elastic noose had stretched
Before at last it snapped its body back.
Yet the riddle has kept my thoughts perplexed
Looking to find the trick that binds the knot,
And now here we are, nearing the city.
That's one of two reasons I've picked you up.
Perhaps, I thought, another head would help,
A head content to stay firmly in place.
What's the riddle? I said. I'll surely try.
One day Oedipus the King and his son
Went out from town to the countryside.
They went out armed with shotguns, to hunt.
What was the son of King Oedipus named?
I'm hazy on Theban genealogies.
Junior, Marguerite. Oedipus Junior.
His mother swore he looked just like dad.
They spotted fresh swan tracks in marsh mud.
Two swans, they knew from these tracks, were near,
One with wide, splayed-out feet, and one small.
You take big foot, father, said Junior,
Because you're the king, and I'm not, yet.
The King said, sure, kid, if you insist.
Is this an historical account? I asked.
The driver shrugged, said he forgot to ask.
Then they saw them, two magnificent swans,
Gliding through water and stepping on shore.
They're too beautiful to kill, said the King.
Well, let's rape them, then, Junior replied,
To which King said, sure, if you insist.
This riddle is reprehensible, bird.
Perhaps the corpse learned it in hell, I said.
The driver, and now I, follow the game,
Even when tracks may lead over the line.
Antecedents, pursued, produce disgust
And soon force trackers of truth to retreat
Unless, voyeurs, they really need to peek.
Our rapt mystics make much of how much
This diverse world is truly just One;
The question they've glossed over, brushed aside,
Is yes it's just one, but just One What?
Just what is this stomach-turning stuff
In which we dwell and out of which we're made?
Just why is it, girl, never discussed
Exactly what the One's been treated with
To make its lively mass remain inert
And not writhe with worms or gas out stench?
I don't really care for metaphysics.
Don't you want to hear where the trail led?
Liber Jonae Contents