My Mother Descends

My Mother Descends

After he died, she slipped away,
visiting her husband, my father,
every night, in the underworld.

At dinner she hides spoons inside
her sleeves. After sunset she crosses
the River Styx, braving storm-torn waves.

Rehearsing death, she lies in bed
for twelve-hour stints. The skiff, so fragile,
shakes when she recovers her balance.

When she descends to bring him back,
clouds skim her eyes. She cannot see,
catching only glints of his silver hair.

There’s never enough cutlery
for Charon. Cerberus snarls hot.
What she wouldn’t give to convince Hades.

Awake at sunrise, her limbs, heavy,
ache from the labor. She is weary
and observes silence with the living.