Ms. Sisyphus


Two gargantuan women appear
in the sky—one a swimmer,
the other a diver. (Or are they
the same woman split in two,

twinned?) Vapor women,
aspirin white, adrift in a heaven
of bandages... The diver dips

lower, drops like a plumb
through the shifting currents
toward the river. The swimmer

pushes something enormous before her
like a cotton mole with a boulder.
I name her Ms. Sisyphus,

watch her scissor her mountain
of twilight with big cloud feet.


Once when we were poor (my father
serving time in an actual state) our weekly
treat was to buy hamburgers and eat
them in the parking lot on Kalakaua
Boulevard, behind a drive-in theater
where, fenced out, we watched the movie
without sound. Every Saturday Elizabeth Taylor,
Deborah Kerr or Betty Davis floated
like rare butterflies across the screen.

We gazed like Plato’s shades
at the silent shadow-beings made
entirely of projected light.

This was our version
of plenty.


The diver rifts in midair;
one tulle fist rips. Ms Sisyphus’
gigantic shoulder muscles puff
up like crinolines, pucker
then twitch. Her arms pull
apart, loose stitch by loose stitch.

She twists to look at me as she
unwinds: Her skull’s unlaced.

Susan Kelly-DeWitt | Mudlark No. 33
Contents | Illapa in the Hawaiian Islands