Cocytus

I have carried it with me through the winter.
February evening carving wind-sweep
      across sprawling drifts of snow.
Late light ebbing pale and barren on the ice.
My shovel scraping at the driveway—
when all at once
                                                                        moans of sirens
lifted in the distance.  When all at once I imagined Sibyl
speaking to Aeneas: Between there lies a forest,
and darkly winds the river Cocytus round the place.
Surely the forlorn dead had come to
   wail.
Surely the flapping
    wings of a Great Darkness
were whipping winter air into shrieking, frozen frenzy.
And then, without warning, it was done.  The sky went still.
Only my shovel scraped.  Snow
                                                                                    gathered
in white-gray membrane behind me.  Night arrived
                                                                        as fitful, silent
weightlessness.  And there was nothing else.