Charon’s Exchange

what is that you hold
in cold clam shell
of your mouth

silver or gold
one coin
of the upper realm

feel with your soft fingertip
a noble profile or
a staff of wheat

or an eagle ready to land
on your morose tongue
thick with words

you will never say again
“I love you” or
“I understand” or

“where did the time go?”
well, all time ends here
and though I’m not a philosopher

just a simple ferryman by trade
I know where to go
and how to get you there

* * *

the water laps
against my humble craft
laggardly cold and indifferent
to your concerns

who you were
what you wore
where you sang
when you walked

on the bright side
of the autumnal moon
through crater and choking dust
to the dark side

did you have a family
did you leave a legacy
that could stand on all
four legs

against the bladed teeth
of any winter wind
against the sulfurous stare
of the summer sun

yes?
no?

* * *

watch your step
when you disembark

take off your shoes
before you pass through

the radiating arch
with your arms up

in a gesture of awe
and appeasement

as you walk up the hill
be brave and resolute

don’t cry out
when your star

rises
at last

[Hillary Lyon ….]

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