Patinir: Charon Crossing the Styx (1520-1524)
As clean and ribbed as a virgin brandy cask,
unseasoned brining barrel for black or green
olives, the ferry’s far too small to keep
the thronged, unceasing dead out of the drink.
There’s barely room for Charon — bulky, tall,
and in the buff — his passenger unfazed
by the looming shore, where Cerebos raises
the scent of the damned and humps his back, his tail
as bald and long as a rat’s. The soul aboard
the boat is a masterpiece of unconcern:
no bigger than a boy, slight body turned
from the jagged, hillside fires, his face devoid
of eleventh-hour remorse, though Hade’s mouth
gapes and frowns like a carnival funhouse.
Aaron Fischer worked for 30+ years as a print and online editor in technology publishing and public policy. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in After Happy Hour, Briar Cliff Review, Five Points, Hudson Review, Nervous Ghost, Sow’s Ear, and other publications. His chapbook, Black Stars of Blood: The Weegee Poems, was published this past summer. He has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes as well as for Best New Poets 2018 and won the Prime Number Magazine 2020 Poetry Contest.
The Ekphrastic Review
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