Bio Note: My Usable Truths: Aphorisms and Observations was recently published by The Waywiser Press.
Rowing on the Acheron
These two sitting across a table
suddenly were seated side by side
out rowing on the Acheron.
She'd asked, "How often have you died?"
Could one embrace so close to hell,
he might have caught her emptiness
against his empty breast and made,
perhaps, a shade or two the less.
"How often have you failed to die?"
He mocked at her? and with his pain?
The prisoner of dialectics
can never cease rattling his chain.
So, two moving solitudes—so oar
and oar to either side—kept pace,
the stream so small, so shallow
they might have left it any place.
It seemed now not to matter if
the immortality in reach,
the universe aching to speak,
should never choose them for its speech.
The river they rode on moved in them.
She craved its flowing identities,
he to pass beyond remembering.
Failure, too, has voluptuaries.
Each saw as each was: she, on her side,
a savior take her death and die;
on his, Pluto, scavenging for lives,
was tossing back the lesser fry.
Her vivid bones a jetting flame;
he a crystal nothing could consume.
But here came the waiter with the check,
the busboy sweeping past with a broom.
Delicate, swift, their waking glance
exchanged the vision each had seen,
their next was blank, the last returned
their smiles, and set the table between.
©2020 Irving Feldman
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