The quarterback spits in his shoe and believes

therefore he’ll win today.

 

In this story

I am the believing, though once I thought

I was the shoe; I thought my father

was the spit; I thought

the quarterback

was very bearded and flanked

by handsome cherubim in helmets

and protective gear.

 

What luck

to live in a physics of entropy,

blitzed by the blank light

of the disc we spin in

and will spin out of—it means

 

we can think, if we want,

that the future stands before us like a preacher

on the sidewalk, waving his stack

of shoddy bibles, though it does not.

 

We can think we could do anything today

but we won’t do anything today.

 

We can think we’d be better off

for being able to do something we don’t

want to do, if we wanted to.

 

Less vaguely,

I mean I admire the shrew

lost on the astroturf, which doesn’t dream

of one day being the senior broker

it won’t be.

 

Less vaguely still,

I am talking to you—whom I haven’t

even told yet, in this story, what to win is.

 

 

 

Sean Bishop
is the author of The Night We’re Not Sleeping In (Sarabande, 2014), selected by Susan Mitchell as winner of the 2013 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. His poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly ReviewBest New PoetsBoston ReviewjubilatPloughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he teaches creative writing and creative writing pedagogy, and coordinates the MFA and Fellowship programs at UW-Madison. He is the founding editor of Better (bettermagazine.org
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