the trouble is: behind him,
a crowd of whispers says
you can, it is of worth, you can.
do you not see how sick i am
do you not see what happened
to all the other chances, this body,
this heart. the grass roadside
has gone from green to brown.
do you not see the waste heat
that’s become of me
there’s good shade by the failure tree
the ground cups cool beneath your cheek.
in his brief sleeps, his face braced by the slowly
smoothing rock, they say: this is the land
of ever-resuscitating chances. this is
the land of new-grown skin. they say:
wake up, Sisyphus. we love you.
it is tomorrow. Alleluia.
Leah Bobet’s latest novel, An Inheritance of Ashes, won the Sunburst, Copper Cylinder, and Prix Aurora Awards and was an OLA Best Bets book; her short fiction is anthologized worldwide. Her poetry has appeared in Grain, Prairie Fire, Canthius, and Climbing Lightly Through Forests: A Poetry Anthology Honoring Ursula K. Le Guin (Aqueduct Press), and placed in the Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize. She was the Utopia Award-winning guest poetry editor for Reckoning: creative writing on environmental justice’s 2021 issue. She lives in Toronto, where she makes jam, builds civic engagement spaces, and plants both tomatoes and trees. Visit her at leahbobet.com.