Daddy blind and wandering,
Momma dead
a slicky-barbered uncle ruling.
Our lives distort,
and my brothers' fights worsen.

I tried to smooth things out.
(My sister's wrong. It is just not true,
I don't exist in total, impervious lethargy.)
But like sparks going upward,
those boys were bound to brawl.
At last, intractable,
starting with drawn knives
ending with both dead.

It was your truckling,
slight Eteocles,
that gained your flowered grave.
My heart unraveled
but left it to Antigone
with her rabid rectitude
before she died
in the whipping darkness
of that cave
to bury Polyneices,
our other fractious brother.

And me, well,
I persevere,
standing in the hall,
head averted, keeping
Uncle Creon gratified.
(Her voice the shape of her,
Antigone courses me falsely
from the grave---
I am not insipid lackey.)

Neca Stoller

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