She had not expected to see a river,
shining brightness or sweet song
perhaps, instead a serpentine sliver
of water wound its way along
a deep, cavernous ravine,
its looming craggy walls
crouching over the torpid stream,
dwarfing the sepulchral craft with its tall
sail gliding through the mist
towards the shoreline.
Powerless to resist,
she knew she must resign
herself to whatever Fate had in store.
Slipping a coin into the boatman’s hand
she stepped aboard, noticing more
people waiting patiently on the strand
apparently unaware of each other,
silently gazing as the barge
sailed further and further
across the river, the large
vertiginous cliffs closing in
as it slowly disappeared from view,
feeling a finger of unease begin
to spread through her being, a new
frisson of fear preceding a sense
of slow fragmentation
as her brain began to dispense
with memories, a dispersion
of self that continued
until she disembarked on the other side,
her previous life reviewed
and removed, she had died,
Charon, for that was the boatman’s name,
informed her, as his sail unfurled
ready to return, she was not the same,
she now belonged to the Underworld.