Something will happen today, in white porch columned / America, downtown, across the smooth & constant / river that runs, it seems, like I used to, for the sake of running, / for the sake of being fast, feeling the world / as it is left behind, the absolute power of a stride, / what my foot could do to a rubberized track, / put it in its place, leave it where I found it but lessened, / & I am gone. // Something will happen later today, / & do you have this anxiety that I do, this semifrantic / state of avoiding, at some great, unknowable cost, / ever being frantic, being out of control—have you ever lived / one heartbeat to the next? I promise I’m not / trying to be dramatic. I assume you have, & do, & are. // Something will happen at 1:30 today: yesterday I said / I am a free man, I should walk along the river, so I did. / There were omens: a raven’s feather with its blue sheen, / an empty cardboard Cravings Box flashing wax paper / left on a stone wall, a newborn’s white shoe. In the mall, / where I went to be somewhere, legions of gold rings / bearing semiprecious stones in their neat rows & ranks, / each so like a soul. // It helps to know the something / that will happen will not be the worst thing that has / ever happened to a human being. Which is so selfish / it is perhaps more intolerable than what will happen. / I keep waiting for the part of the story where I face / great hardship & emerge more benevolent & humble. / I keep waiting for the part of the contest when I win.

AJ White is a poet and educator from north Georgia who holds degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University, where his work was awarded the Thomas Gay Poetry Prize, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. He lives in central New York, where he is a doctoral student at SUNY Binghamton.

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