Parable

by Rosanna Oh


Just as Sisyphus held onto his desires
for crescents of beach, cheeks of wild fig, his wife’s small body—
until he was condemned to hell
where his rock was readied
to become the object of his final Passion,

so this solitary grandmother holds onto hers,
while perched hunchbacked, wobbling on
the lowest stair in the rockery, to plant
with earth-clotted fingers digging deep
between wedges of stone
the seeds of Jacob’s Ladder after rain,

and rests, licking her bloody knuckles
from time to time,
still unconscious of the ravens, who,
en route, exhausted, pause then circle high above,
regarding the grey alpine laborer at the foot
of the shady precipice.



Read Rosanna Oh’s Three Women

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