What you want, at least, is the dignity
of a Sisyphus—you want to see yourself
on a hilltop, your muscles and hands
afire and chest roaring for breath, and
that boulder and its pounding descent
seen at least through your memories
of the throne. But the elevator hauls
you to another unstoried floor, another
hard carpet trod by the many, and your
one suit has a stain at the shoulder, and
you carry your account along the hallway
with the growing sense that it weighs
nothing at all. What weighs, really, is
the fear that this is your myth, this drag
up the hill with empty, tender hands,
and the ride back down again—untold
by gods or men how, during the slow
fall, you take off your suit jacket and
pick at the stain until it becomes a hole.
Added: Friday, September 11, 2015 / Forthcoming in We Were the People Who Moved (Tebot Bach). Used with permission.
David Ebenbach is the author of five books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including the poetry collection We Were the People Who Moved (Tebot Bach) and the short story collection Into the Wilderness (Washington Writers’ Publishing House). Winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, the Patricia Bibby Prize, and the Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize, Ebenbach has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Learn more at his website.