The Queen of Asphodel

By Jeremy Scott

Swaying her hands back and forth over the grey ghost flowers, Sophia sighed for not a single soul had been sent to the Asphodel Meadows in centuries and her loneliness knew no limits. After Hades moved on to a bigger and better management position on Mount Olympus, Sophia, a simple seamstress from Sparta, was promoted to Queen of the Meadows.

“An ordinary woman to greet all the ordinary souls that enter the Underworld,” Hades had said.

“But why me?” Sophia asked.

“There’s no one else left here, besides perhaps you can get back into your sewing, since there will be lots of free time for you,” and with that her fate was sealed.

Sophia was weaving her countless crown of asphodel and looking out onto the grey sky as the cold sun set again, when she heard a voice behind her.

“Hello?” asked the voice.

Sophia thought that her mind was playing tricks on her, so she started to hum to drown out the voice.

“You’re the only person I’ve seen since I’ve arrived here, wherever that is.”

She turned to look at the quiet, old voice, with an accent she had never heard of. Plainspoken, confident, assured of itself, but tinged ever so slightly with fear.

“By Jove! You’re real. I apologize, I thought…Regardless, welcome to the Underworld. This is where you must wander from now until eternity. It’s not as bad as it sounds, really. You’re not being punished, or at least I don’t think you are. I am Sophia, Queen of the Asphodel Meadows, but don’t worry, I’m not at all as pompous as that makes me sound.”

The man had white wisps of hair that were waving in the wind; large glasses that dominated his face, and was hunched over with age. He was dressed in a dark suit, a black silk tie, and black dress shoes. Sophia had never seen someone dressed so strange.

“My name is Dr. William Carlos Williams. I am, or at least I was if this is the afterlife, a physician, a pediatrician, as well as a poet, but that’s less important than my work was with the children.”

“Welcome, Dr. Williams,” Sophia said as she searched for words that would be fitting of speaking to a poet. She had loved listening to poetry at the amphitheaters back in her lifetime.

“I wrote a poem about asphodel once, but the variety I was writing about was green, not gray. My, how colorless this world is,” Dr. Williams said as he looked around the endless field of flowers.

“Perhaps you could recite it to me, at sometime, if its no trouble?” Sophia looked expectantly up at Dr. Williams.

“See, the problem is, I don’t remember it. I typed it up and sent it off and was done with it after that. I never knew it would be so successful. I just write to feel.”

“Ah, I see,” Sophia said as her shoulders sank low.

“But, I could always write poems just for you. You could be my muse. You’re beautiful and besides, you say we have forever to wander here.”

“Really? That would be wondrous. Oh, to think, me a Muse. Call me Calliope,” Sophia said with a flirtatious laugh that sent a smile tracing itself across Dr. Williams lips.

“Then it is settled. We’ll spend from here to eternity together and I will be your personal poet.”

Sophia giggled, her cheeks growing a slightly darker gray as they flushed.

“I dub thee, Royal Poet of the Asphodel Meadows, Dr. William Carlos Williams.”

“It’s an honor, My Queen.”

Sophia held out her hand and Dr. Williams accepted it. They walked into the cold, grey sunset, swaying their free hands over the ghost blossoms.