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You Will Walk the Earth For Some Amount of Days

And you will get an apartment that’s aggressively ok, beetles

streaming from the walls included. Several babies will be born

in the same building but never meet as adults. It will strike you

as one of a growing list of cosmic injustices. You will wonder where

your wallet is and should I see the doctor now? Now? What about now?

until it’s too late or just in time or it wasn’t anything to begin with

so why did you worry? You’ll get hairy in places and want to plant

a garden. The capitalist in you will see a railway running through

Main Street, men on board shoveling dollars off the sides into

the hands of a single man, running faster than everyone because

he can stop time, didn’t you hear about him? It’s why he floats

around in that big balloon made in the shape of his face. Look

there it goes. Look it’s another dog lifting its leg, another neighbor

waving on the sidewalk. Even if it’s only a little while, a little while’s a lot

compared to nothing. The way eight ants are an infinity larger

than zero rings of Saturn or no international space stations or even

the future which is still beaming in like a cup of soup in the food beamer

inner from Star Trek. And you will taste a bit of success and wonder how

to steal more. And you will lick the armpit of failure again and again

and learn to love its sweet sour. Its sour sweet. And you will call it

up on a Saturday and say what are you doing tonight, sweet failure,

and sweet failure, nonchalant, will say…And you will wince at the sight

of crushed raccoons, foxes, squirrels, dogs, and deer. And bones

will keep you in place. And you will ask something of someone

or they will ask something of you. Now you have an economy

of trust. Congratulations. Now you have a method for making

enemies. Pick out your favorite and try to ruin their life, for

right now, in some well-lit office perhaps, someone may be doing this

to you. Above all, be glad for the present moment you can try

to learn to live in. Good luck with that. And good luck learning trigonometry

to a passable level, writing a staggering work of breathtaking heartache,

or locating the book you are trying to find, the one you could have sworn

your friend got back to you. Fifteen seconds from now it will fall from

your shelf. If it doesn’t happen, you’ve either traveled ahead in time or back

and I can’t help you but I can tell you where in the city has the best soup.


JEFF WHITNEY's most recent chapbook is Sixteen Stories (Flume Press, 2022). Recent poems can be found or found soon in Bennington Review, Kenyon Review, Missouri Review, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, and Sixth Finch. He lives in Portland with his wife.


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