THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS
Myths are made for the imagination
to breathe life into them.
As if pushing a boulder up a mountain
wasn’t punishment enough,
a malicious llama tormented him further
with its incessant spitting.
It was futile labor which included
working overtime, even holidays,
with no benefits. His heart grew heavy
with the absurdity of his fate,
but as the years passed, the great stone
eroded a fraction each time it tumbled
down the mountain. By the time his hair
reached his waist, and his muscles
were bigger than Zeus’, the rock
was small enough to kick up the alp.
At the summit, he watched the stone fall
until he lost sight of it, whistled a tune
as he descended, then searched the base
of the mountain for the once mighty rock
like a man who had lost
a contact lens.
—from Rattle #11, Summer 1999
Tribute to Editors
David Hernandez: “I am a lifelong subscriber to Simic’s belief that ‘comedy says as much about the world as tragedy does.’”