It drains the very want of life as I lay
back on this skiff
peering through the destiny before me.
The crackle of bones
in my ear, muffled beneath the robe
as the long staff propels us.
The air is beyond stale. We disrupt it
passing through the thick soup
slowing us with unyielding density
pushed. Forward faster
the long pole projects a silent runner
over a dead river for nothing could survive,
live or swim through this detritus.
The skiff splits the soupy skin
causing the scab to rupture.
A viscous something is released.
Puss, my chosen word for the seepage,
breaks and is swallowed again by the liquid,
for it denotes living and dying in a motion.
A still thing with anima this cannot be.
Faster and faster still and still no wind past me.
The acrid substance slips thickly up my nose
bringing a foulness rich enough to be tasted.
I swallow, the pole gurgles through the mist
and I wonder how long must that pike be
to reach the bottom of this Stygian foulness
and place my corpse upon it in display.