The capacity of Orpheus’s severed head to sound among the living from beyond the threshold of death indexes a dimension of voice and sound, or more properly an indetermination of the two, which may be defined as purgatorial. As the poet’s words make clear, it is not the person here who speaks but voice itself [vox ipsa], less the sonic presence of a being than the more uncanny call of the very slipping away of its soul or life [anima fugiente]. This liminal sound, voiced at once through and without the tongue that articulates it, is purgatorial in several senses…