by Rachel Linton


Cassandra marries Sisyphus.
She places the personal ad—
no friends to set them up
and OK Cupid doesn’t have a category for
“comfortable with futility.”
The only person she can marry has to know
failure is the only option. No one will ever
believe her. The boulder will never
crest the hill. They both know fate.

“Looking for someone stubborn,”
she writes, “Who won’t quit no matter
what. Must be okay with failure.
Must be capable of love,
but can be bad at it.”

He inks the response leaning on
the boulder. It will be in all
the wedding photos.


Failed Recipes

Whatever the great poets may tell you,
there is not peace in sunlight. You cannot find it
in the shadow of leaves on the garden wall,
in the wind, or in the distant rumble that might
be thunder, or the highway, you never learned to tell–
never learned that the parrots, winging south
for the winter, do not carry it in their beaks.
It does not carry like voices over the fences
from someone else’s garden, cannot be carried
home in a grocery bag because it cannot be bought,
or borrowed.

It is homemade, and handmade.
The internet is full of recipes, most of them true,
in a way, but none of them true enough
that they will work for you as written. There is no
universal set of ingredients, although there are some
that are so common, people will suggest them
as gospel: try sleep. Try deep breathing. Try, yes,
sunlight. Try petting a cat. Try prayer. Try poetry.
Mix and match —try making coffee, and not letting it
go cold. Try letting it go cold while you take deep breaths.
Try remembering you made coffee and it is going cold
while you sit in the garden, trying poetry, and sunlight,
and the shadow of leaves on the garden wall,
just because they’re there.

Try to remember that nothing is universal.
That maybe the sunlight will work better tomorrow,
when you have slept better. Try the sunset, later,
or maybe the moon. Try going back inside,
and lukewarm coffee, and finishing a poem.
Try to remember that every recipe,
whatever else its ingredients,
calls for time.

Image by Ann Poan via Pexels