South of the Elysian Fields, a warm sea breeze blows over me, the air invisible. The phantom wind rouses the nearby fire over which my crew had earlier cooked meats in sacrifice to the gods.
Creusa’s shade finds me. I sit on the sand that overlooks a broad stretch of beach. As Creusa nears, the shift she wears traces her body’s contours—the garment is a conundrum: revealing all, yet, conversely, nothing.
My ship long ago left Troy and the familiar clear waters of the Aegean. The price of our pursuit of Aeneas.
In front of me, my bireme’s wooden prow runs clean onto the smooth sands near Cumae. We are beached, and my crew, that small band of proud Achaeans, moored the ship and moved onto the sand like weary ants leaving their subterranean dwellings in Spring.
Earlier when I’d stepped off my vessel just arrived and plunged into the waist-deep clear waters of the Tyrrhenian, the hot sun overhead beat on my bare tanned back. Upon arrival, I’d surveyed the beach north and south attempting in vain to spy Aeneas’s vessel knowing full well he’s deep down in the foul Cave where he conducts his unholy communion with the Sybil.
My attention returns. Creusa’s shade now sits beside me. She’s warm and smells of a half-forgotten dream. Her lips taste of salt when she presses hers onto mine.
“The hour approaches, my love,” she says. “My husband nears the river Acheron and the Crossing.”
“All in good time,” I answer.
We join, Creusa and I, my ship holds anchor against the tide, and the fire dies.