Styx

Dana Levin

 
You put a bag around your head and walked into the river.
You
walked into the river with a bag around your head and you were
never dead
game on the banks of your
mental styx
for the double
audience
of smoke—
               —
You pressed a coin into his palm and stepped across the water.
You
stepped across the water with a hand on his arm and he was
silent and kind as you
               shoved off, toward the smoky coils
of the greek-seeming dead—
You’d been trying to sleep.
Found yourself here
in the mythocryptic land—
The river
               —
had widened to a lake. You were anchored
in the shallow boat
by his faceless weight—
And on the green shore you could see their vapored
residue, how they could
smell it, those two―if you
slit your wrist you could make them speak.
If you
               —
slit your wrist you might be able to sleep.
Grief.
Grief.
Handing you back
your coin.
 
Copyright © Dana Levin. Used with permission of the author.

Poems by This Author

Ars Poetica (cocoons) by Dana Levin
Six monarch butterfly cocoons
Bardo by Dana Levin
Ghosts That Need Reminding by Dana Levin
Through shattered glass and sheeted furniture, chicken
In the Surgical Theatre by Dana Levin
In the moment between
Letter to GC by Dana Levin
I say most sincerely and desperately, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The Gods Are in the Valley by Dana Levin
The mind sports god-extensions
Zozo-ji by Dana Levin
One cry from a lone bird over a misted river


Further Reading

Poems About Hell
The Aeneid, Book VI, [First, the sky and the earth]
by Virgil
A Myth of Devotion
by Louise Glück
A Season in Hell
by Arthur Rimbaud
Canto XIV
by Ezra Pound
Descriptions of Heaven and Hell
by Mark Jarman
Hellish Night
by Arthur Rimbaud
How Can It Be I Am No Longer I
by Lucie Brock-Broido
I Am a Cowboy in the Boat of Ra
by Ishmael Reed
Medusa
by Patricia Smith
Orfeo
by Jack Spicer
Proverbs of Hell
by William Blake
Silence Raving
by Clayton Eshleman
Slim Greer in Hell
by Sterling A. Brown
Song of Devils
by Thomas Shadwell
Strange Meeting
by Wilfred Owen
The Bistro Styx
by Rita Dove
The Dead
by Mina Loy
The Philosophy of Pitchforks
by Sue Owen
The Pomegranate
by Eavan Boland
Worst Things First
by Mark Bibbins