It drains the very want of life as I lay

back on this skiff

peering through the destiny before me.

The gurgle.

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.


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