The key springs the lock on my office door.
I lower the shades against the glare,

push my work aside and slump before my laptop
scrolling through ESPN. I’m such an idiot,

Phil Mickelson said after he melted down at Winged Foot.
His tragic flaw: believing too much in himself, whereas most

of us believe too little. Not uncommon in your easy millionaires.
My email bleeps. The sky goes grey. Cars ease by the mute bell

tower. Time’s cosmic joke—it speeds up when
you need it most. I thought I had wrapped my mind

around it like a bow, then I heard it passes faster
on a skyscraper’s top floor and almost wept.

I huddled in tunnels then, under the rush of trains,
kept everything in the dark. Imagine

the earth as if it were immersed in honey,
said the physicist, trying to explain. And later, as I mosey

home in the rain, while crows waddle in the bloated grass,
worms dangling from their beaks, I’ll do just that.


Mark Neely is the author of Beasts of the Hill, and Dirty Bomb, both from Oberlin College Press. His third book, Ticker, won the Idaho Prize for Poetry and was published by Lost Horse Press in 2021. He is a professor of English at Ball State University, and a senior editor at River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative.