Two months ago you were stranded on the Styx.
Two months ago we waited on the bank
screaming though our throats winced
and our bodies crumpled in fatigue.
When your boat by inches drifted back,
we rubbed our eyes and sighed
till we could be sure you were nearing.
The dark, damp earth sagged beneath us
as we raised our voices like lanterns.
Weeks sprawled as you approached the shore.
We rubbed our eyes and sighed
at the unsteady blue of your gaze.
Carrying you from boat to bank I could see
your fingernails, your toenails
had grown bestial.
I knelt beside you
to clean away weeks of dead skin
under each hard curve,
to trim each nail to its accustomed shape,
to claim you—
Mine, says the speechy daughter. Mine.