Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NONE, by HAYDEN CARRUTH

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

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First Line: You died. And because you were greek they gave you
Last Line: "
Subject(s): Life

You died. And because you were Greek they gave you
a coin to carry under your tongue and then also
biscuits and honey. When you came to the riverbank
you saw a crazy-looking black bumboat on the water
with a figure standing in it, lanky and dressed
darkly, holding a sweep. You were taken across,
and you gave your coin for the passage, and continued
until you came to a three-headed dog, who snarled
and threatened you, even though you were not trying
to escape. You gave him the biscuits smeared
with honey, and you passed onward to the field
of asphodel and through the gate of Tartarus. Or

you died and you were Navajo. They had carried you
out of the hogan earlier so you'd die in the sunshine.
Or if it happened inside suddenly, they stuffed up
the smokehole and boarded the front entrance, and cut
an opening in the back, the north-facing, dark-facing
side, to carry you out, and no one ever used
that hogan again. They took off your moccasins
and put them on again wrong side to, the left one
on the right foot, the right on the left, so that your
chindi would be confused and unable to return
along your tracks. They washed your hair in suds
made from the yucca. Then they gave you
enough fried bread and water to last four days,
and you set off on your journey. But actually

none of these things happened. You just died.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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