I always thought the Greeks were fools,
after all those tragedies we read in class,
you know? (No, you say, I never read Antigone.)
Fine, I say, but their fatal flaw was always pride,
and I think, probably, so is

You don’t disagree, and now I keep finding
little things, the collection of evidence
against my thesis (which is the literary sort,
the sort where you line up the quotations
paragraph by paragraph, not the sort you 
can test, not in a controlled experiment)--
it’s not scientific, hamartia, and only time
and poetry will tell you if it does me in
in the end.

But, evidence: all my nightmares
are about failure. Other people, apparently,
have dreams about being trapped, about
falling, or their teeth falling out, the world
changing and warping around them. And I
agree--shit’s scary, all the plastic in the oceans,
the oceans, the unknowable, the vast, the invisible
hand gripping you. It makes me shiver, in a
horror novel. But my subconscious knows better.
If I wake up afraid, it’s because of me. I cannot
outrun the monster, lock the door fast enough
a plan to survive is slipping apart in my hands or
I can’t finish the test in time and I wake shaking
and mad at myself.

I can do anything, so why didn’t I? Always, I could have
done better, been better. Pride is a blade with two edges.
Pride digests you along with the evidence, eats not
just at the stomach built to bear it but up at
the throat, snake up the drain, never begging
to escape because it will never beg but
trying, eternally, nonetheless.

Probably if there is a hell (of which I’m not convinced)
but if I am wrong (which I don’t think I am) and the
god(s) who runs it decide to punish me for my wrongness
they will make me Sispyhus, thinking
I could have pushed that boulder
better. I will next time
I’ve got it next time, 
for sure.

Rachel Linton

Rachel Linton is a playwright, poet, and soon-to-be law student at the University of Chicago. She is a two-time winner of both the Blank Theatre Young Playwrights Festival and the Donn B. Murphy One-Acts Festival at Georgetown University, among other awards. You can find her on Twitter @rleighl.