Author: Sheila Kaveny

Here’s Sisyphus again,
pushing that ’59 Cadillac Biarritz
across the Great Plains, the
car’s red body aglow in its sheet

of heat waves. She rolls good
on the flatland, he thinks,
not fast, but steady, and he gets
into rhythm, feet going

up/down like the needle
of a sewing machine
as if he were stitching
the broken yellow center line.

His midline drops as his heart rate jumps,
with the increased incline of Sudden Hill,
’til his eyes are level with Zeus’ crown
shining in the logo on the Caddy’s trunk.

Sometimes Sisyphus straight-arms it,
biceps and triceps rigid as stone. The dimpled
rounds of his buttocks roll with each step
like the whitewalls moving

the vehicle forward. Sometimes
he turns his back to the car,
heaves it with his fingers
locked in the grille,

feeling the burn
of the reverse lunge, the tell-tale
ache in his lumbar spine. The tail fins
grow into his shoulders like wings,

and the wind swirls his thick,
white hair. The rocket-car races him
off the hill, back to the prairie. He dreams
of sitting in the driver’s seat.

Towns are poisonous, truth be told. That’s why this house sets

on chicken legs.  If we don’t like a place, or if they find us, we just gets up and steps away.  Long   steps. 

 

They send their pestering children out into this dark and fearful northern European forest to bother me with their nonsense.  Looking in mirrors

they shouldn’t be near enough to gaze on,

 

they see reflected the empty sockets of their own mortality floating

among the lilies.  The mirrors are meant to keep the birds from flowering fruits,

but children imagine wild things.

 

The priest calls me “Crone,” because I give my wealth no more to cloister nor

to bridegroom.  Townsfolk are the perfect hole of an echo, throwing stones

as they cross themselves, but I don’t

 

need them.  I’ve been sweeping up after myself and minding business

now for about fourteen hundred years, living pretty good for a lone, old woman.  In the dark they always come, looking

 

for potions and miseries.  I’m a chemist, you know.