Persephone and Oedipus

Tired of arguing over who wears the sadder fate,
Persephone and Oedipus decide to get drunk.

Oedipus knows this little Irish pub down the street,
a basement place with rusty swords on the wall.

He buys the first round, sips his Johnny Walker Black
and hopes she doesn’t catch his wince. But

Persephone is too busy wondering if her filmy gown
is the wrong attire for this place, her nipples

swaying like figs at the end of the bartender’s stare.
I’m tired of being a metaphor, Oedipus grumbles,

clenching his bruised knuckles around his shotglass.
Persephone nods, spine arched like a scimitar.

He stares at her then asks, Want to do some blow?
She says yes, but only if they go to the ladies’ room.

It’s cleaner in there, she says. Oedipus frowns.
I thought you said you’ve never been here before!

Persephone readjusts her gown. I haven’t, she said,
but everywhere you go, it’s the same damn story.


Michael Meyerhofer’s second book, Blue Collar Eulogies, was published by Steel Toe Books. His first, Leaving Iowa, won the Liam Rector First Book Award. He has also won the Marjorie J. Wilson Best Poem Contest, the James Wright Poetry Award, the Laureate Prize, the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry, and five chapbook prizes. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx, Quick Fiction and other journals, and can be read online at

Photo Source: Brownstoner

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