Five Rivers to Cross I sat down by the river Styx to wait upon Phlegyas, ferryman of old, among the uninterred who congregate and those who do not have a coin of gold. The boat arrived—I did not hesitate, but climbed quickly aboard, and acted bold. Traversing this River of Hatred, done; my trip through Hades, only just begun. Cocytus next, the wide River of Tears, where those who spilled innocent blood lament. Upon this score, I knew my slate was clear; across I rode, and not a coin was spent. I paused before the next river in fear. At Phlegethon, was judged harmful intent, this River of Fire glowing hot and red, consumed all wicked souls for lives they led. I passed that horrid stream, but at a cost: one of the two gold coins within my hands. Now at the Acheron, all could be lost, for paying there had been part of my plan. I knew Charon could not be double-crossed, instead, he must be made to understand, his ferry over this River of Pain I had to ride, yet my last coin retain. Upon the banks, I met a neutral soul who gave to me his coin; he had to stay... for passionless, you cannot pay the toll. Now, for my ride, I had a coin to pay. Elysium was still my final goal, the river Lethe the last one in my way. A River of Forgetfulness, I think; though I’m not sure... for I was made to drink. Note: I have taken some liberties with Greek mythology here, but the five rivers and the two ferrymen are true to the spirit of the mythos. Life’s Lonely Appendix Fading memories blow through my dry empty soul, wrapped in echoes of tormented silence and pain like a hot desert wind, past the crumbling facade of a ghost town, abandoned, where tumbleweeds reign. Black emotional stretch marks carved into my heart, casting ebony shadows, now deeply embossed in striations and patterns that spell out your name etched in acid-rain tears, spilled for all that I’ve lost. When I let myself ponder the cruelty of fate, the unfairness still twists in my guts like a knife. Since you left me behind without saying goodbye, deep blue loneliness colors the days of my life. In my dreams you’re still here and still sharing my bed, then I wake all alone, with your voice in my head. Dusty Grein is an author, poet and graphics designer from Federal Way, Washington. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest, where his daughter is hard at work securing her college degree while still in high school, and raising him right. When he is not busy writing, he donates a great deal of his time and graphics talent. In honor of his grandson Eddy, lost to SIDS at 13 weeks old, he creates free memorial images for bereaved families, with a special focus on infant and pregnancy loss. His blog, From Grandpa’s Heart… is followed by fans around the world.