Volume 8 (Fall 2014)

L.M. Browning

Down Along the River Styx

Wrapped in your straitjacket of self-involvement

We plow ahead into the dark horizon

Conjured by your ill-yearnings.

You built this faulty ship

With its warped compass and missing keel,

With its brittle bones and gutted sails.

You set the course to that forsaken place

And hold to it each day no matter my pleas

And the omens warning you away.

Why must I make the journey unto ruin with you?

You do not value my companionship.

You simply want company in your misery.

You do not care how many years I lose,

Never taking into account what I might have wanted.

The only need you have of me is as a nursemaid

When at last this boat runs aground

And the vulturous society you keep comes to eat you alive.

...And you curse me for jumping ship.

L.M. Browning is the winner of the 2013 Nautilus Gold Medal for Poetry. Browning is a graduate of the University of London and a Fellow with the League of Conservationist Writers. She is partner at Hiraeth Press, Co-Founder of Written River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics, as well as Editor-In-Chief of The Wayfarer: A Journal of Contemplative Literature. Her latest poetry collection, Vagabonds and Sundries is now available. Visit her website.

On Libations: My drink of choice is a rye old fashioned. It's a classic that is dangerously easy to drink (a little too easy some nights.) It's smooth and sweet with just the right amount of fire. I've been a whiskey drinker since my mid-20's. I tend to raise a few eyebrows when I tell others my drink, as though whiskey isn't a woman's drink; nonetheless, I have no shame when ordering.  The only time I feel a sense of shame is when I'm in the middle of a blue-collar Irish pub in downtown and the person I've brought with me orders a frozen strawberry daiquiri. Then I sink into my chair and hide my face.