by Perry S. Nicholas

when I cross the river,
wide ocean in this instance,
make sure I have signed off
on all the necessary paperwork.
All monetary promises and death benefits.

When I reach the wall of Cerberus,
three-headed dog barking and biting my ankles,
I’ll leave all my belongings behind,
rush forward to a place of black poplars.
For you, I worked hard to reach ordinary life.

Just leave one coin under my tongue
to pay a fare for the ferry across
the river Styx, since love no longer counts—
my years of turmoil are nearly over.
I am no miser; I only want to sail along.

No, these are special cases we’re discussing.
Me, I need to escape your slow, charcoal rage,
be granted an allowance to return
to those fields of music, unbeaten wings,
peacefully waiting for a penniless nothing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Perry S. Nicholas is an Associate English professor at Erie Community College North in Buffalo, New York. His books of poetry are: The River of You, What the World Sees, Small Crafts, Beginnings, and The Company We Keep with poet Maria Sebastian-Nicholas. Perry has recorded one CD of poetry called I’ve Written Too Many Poems.

IMAGE: “Psyche Pays Charon to Cross the River Styx” by John Stanhope (1883).