Addy Robinson McCulloch, “Double-Talking the Ferryman”

Addy Robinson McCulloch
Double-Talking the Ferryman*

And part of you leaves Tartarus,
But part stays there to dwell–

The first time he tried to claim me for his own,
I was three, my frail lungs paralyzed by infection.
The myths fail to mention his strange good looks
or that he reads books by Danielle Steele.

He took pity on me, accepting the bone
I’d brought for his three-headed friend
in exchange for my return – in one piece –
to the world of machines and medicines.

By fourteen, my asthmatic lungs were weary of it all.
So was he. He waived aside my practiced
arguments, offered my life for another’s,
and I left with all but my womb.

When I was thirty, he shook his head and laughed,
I don’t know why I like you so much.
But he took my tongue all the same,
that I might not sweet talk him again.

*Title and opening lines taken from “Song for the Women Poets” by A. E. Stallings

Author’s Comment: This poem is one of several I’m working on about living with a life-threatening illness for a lifetime and, for this poem in particular, the struggle to make as few concessions as possible to the disease itself.

BIO: Addy Robinson McCulloch is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Wilmington , NC . In addition to poetry and writing, her passions include being happily married, dogs, sarcasm, and Italian wines. Her poetry has appeared in online and print journals, including Redheaded Stepchild and The Dead Mule.

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