it’s still the wrong answer

Thanks to Jim Culleny for his daily poetry emails.

Muriel Rukeyser
Long afterward, Oedipus, old and blinded, walked the roads. He smelled a familiar smell. It was the Sphinx. Oedipus said, “I want to ask one question. Why didn’t I recognize my mother?”
“You gave the wrong answer,” said the Sphinx. “But that was what made everything possible,” said Oedipus. “No,” she said. “When I asked, What walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three in the evening, you answered, Man. You didn’t say anything about woman.”
“When you say Man,” said Oedipus, “you include women too. Everyone knows that.”
She said, “That’s what you think.”