Sisyphus at the Summit (poem)

The boulder crumbled eons ago—

even the gods can’t defy erosion.

This is the question that rolled

like a dark ocean behind his eyes:

what happens when the Almighty’s will

is bested by mere physics? Mortals weren’t

supposed to reach the top. Men weren’t

supposed to escape their punishments. But

all the Underworld’s nebulous gloom swirled

before him, and his back was achingly unbent.

Like an eel though a net, he slipped out

of time, his mind a boat drifting on a starless sea,

waiting for someone to descend and tell

him it was all part of the plan. For the boulder

to reform like a cancer. For the mountain to rumble

and rear up to twice its height. Anything to keep

his ordeal eternal. He waited. And

waited.

                                                            Finally,

he stood and wandered down the far side

of the mountain. Stretched his back, popped

his knuckles. Found the biggest boulder, the one

he imagined Zeus would have chosen. He planted

his feet, leaned hard against the stone. He thought

to push, but the wheel of habit had long ago snapped. 

Slowly, he sat down in its shadow and did not get back up. 

 

            Is this part of it?

 

he asked the void.

 

He wasn’t sure if anyone was listening anymore. But 

he waited, still, for an answer.

 

___________________________________________________

This poem was first published in the March 2018 issue of  Riggwelter Press. It is included in my book of poetry, Bright Soil, Dark Sun, from Finishing Line Press.

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