Cthonic Exile by Cameryn Araduke

pay the ferryman with a coin
he will bear you across 
the river of forgetfulness
but find your own way to me

feel my palm, cold as tubers
reignite those memories you thought 
the ferryman swept behind you
with a stroke of his oar

the life you cannot recall 
I will remember for you
for nothing beneath the living
is lost to me, save myself

all that comes from the earth
was once mine in these dark halls
and, unlike my husband, 
I covet more than wealth

remember for me a meadow’s arms
flung open to the sun, enticing
Apollo with languidly-bent flowers,
alluring and heavy with nectar

morning mist climbing the cliffs
(were you born there?) rosemary 
tasting Poseidon’s briny breath
with a hundred green tongues

Did Alcyone find peace? or stillness, at least -
her father calmed the waters and the wind
for seven days, while my mother weeps
until the grains bow with snow, and my father
looks to his many children but seldom

the villagers mourn 
because they are hungry
let them taste the bitterness 
of pomegranate seeds

the roses on the far islands 
are unfurling their blooms, and the ones
without thorns are all gathered up

remember for me, now - 
what happens next? 


Cameryn Araduke is a tea-sipping wordslinger whose weapon of choice is a smoky lapsang souchang. She writes straightforward fantasy, space bending science fiction, and all kinds of poetry. Born in Tokyo, she has since lived in Moscow, Vladivostok, Bishkek and Juneau. Her greatest regret is that Scrabble does not allow place names.