The river that’s flowing before me now
Pretends to understand its lonely brother Styx.
It is October time, a time of myths
And stranger maths
Than summers know
Or springs can bring to sum.
The leaves surrender to a gathered text of sticks
Retailed for fuel and some
Forgotten task that lazes on the banks,
Awaiting frost’s soliloquy of spears and blades.
My whining spill of spooling line
Upsets a loon —
It glides and banks
A wake upon the distant shore.
Old grandsire Proteus appears at last, a blaze
Who builds his kindle, sure
Enough, from limb and branch of weeping pines.
The shivering fish that shake away my hook reform
Beneath the surface. Ghosts of dusk,
They catch the disc
Of moon that spins and pines
For autumn’s tomb. A china plate
That shatters trees and stars, this lunar form
Resolves to hold the plait
Of Pitys’ hair the way that Pan had sighed
To grasp her battered body Boreas had thrown
In lust. So raw, his breath
Now fits its breadth
Along the side
Of evening’s flesh. Its chill now combs
My fire. I edge myself against this flaming throne
As ancient winter comes
To claim my blood as corporation sole.
The world’s collateral is not enough and preys
Upon my wasted groin.
(What god will groan
To claim my soul?)
So, empty cup in hand, I wait
Between the river’s deep and castle keep. Each prays
To lift this golden weight.