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 / In We Were the People Who Moved (Tebot Bach). Used with permission.
David Ebenbach is the author of seven books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including the new poetry collection Some Unimaginable Animal, which poet Rick Chess called “charming and wise,” adding, “Cling to this book. It will add life to your life.” His books have won such awards as the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, the Juniper Prize, and the Patricia Bibby Prize, among others. Born in Philadelphia, Ebenbach now lives with his family in Washington, DC, where he teaches creative writing and literature at Georgetown University. Please visit his website.