Centuries into his punishment,
Sisyphus finally learns how to relax
And take the scenic routes
Around the Underworld
Instead of simply pushing Rocky uphill
Like he did during his early years.
He now takes the time to watch as new prisoners
Get tossed down by the Furies,
Head-first, screaming and impaled
Upon the jagged grounds of Tartarus till
They’re either blots or splatters on the dark soil,
Noting their locations for future reference.
More frequently, he would stop by to chat with Tantalus
And trade banters and insults that have long lost their heat.
He would even practice his shots with
Scraps of torn flesh rolled into tiny balls—
Which he scavenges along the Furies’ usual flight paths,
Throwing them into Tantalus’ open, skyward mouth,
Keeping careful scores of his hits and misses,
And feeling a sense of pride and excitement
Upon seeing a marked improvement
In his accuracy as time goes by.
Whenever hunger strikes,
He would make a stop at Ixion’s place
To hold idle conversations with the old king
While roasting his portion of the collected meat
Using the fire from the latter’s wheel.
In times of thirst, he would visit the Danaides
To exchange gossip with the gathered ladies
While leaning on Rocky and enjoying a cool drink
From their ever-leaking vases.
He even succeeds in drawing laughter here and there
With his still sharpened wits.
(“Still got it,” whispers Sisyphus as he goes on his merry way.)
Recently, he has become acquainted with one Ocnus,
Often distracting the guy’s gluttonous donkey long enough
To procure a sizeable and durable rope of straw,
Which he secures around Rocky and the donkey’s body
To have that gullible beast pull the boulder up for him
During the last leg of his journey,
Albeit with discretion when the Furies are not around,
Whose patrol routes and schedules he has long memorized.
Whenever he nears his designated summit,
Sisyphus would untie the rope,
Letting Rocky roll back down at full force
While he watches and claps his hands like a child
Watching his puppy dash away in a game of fetch.
Sauntering down, he pulls up his mental map
And debates with himself where to go, who to meet,
And what to do for his next journey,
A little smile unconsciously tugging at the corners of his lips.