Map

Jill Alexander Essbaum

A diagonal jag from bottom west to northeast marks
the flow of a strange river. As indicated, passage is barred.

A revenant will meet you at its parched banks (from which direction,
of that I am yet unclear) on the exact eve of the rainy season

(exact, for this is the driest day of the year, in no exception). If
there is a chance that he might cross over to meet you,

wear a long, red tunic. Lest you start to drown, its crimson
billows floating will mark a starting place to search out your inflated soul.

It is indicated that these waters are treacherous;
The slightest depths run to a thousand feet and feelings.

Kiss the ring on his left hand. Give him whatever bread
is in your pockets. Tell him your true name. Pray and be

afraid. The price of your sins in paid but not the tax of your soul.

 

 

poem notes

listen to reading

the ferryman

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