One day, there will be a paper to sign.
It will come stacked casually inside
the quotidian mail, its bold blank line
shuffled amid requests to be denied
or approved or simply tucked back in
until tomorrow. There was a big promise
you made when you decided to begin
this signal enterprise: it was not this.
Yet there you’ll be, holding a stranger’s pen,
hearing nothing but the carpet shift
with advisors and none to say amen
to your autograph and the rift
it will thereafter create. Now you
must say it. You must say it. You. You.
Steven Ray Smith‘s poetry has been published in The Yale Review, Southwest Review, The Kenyon Review, Slice, Barrow Street, THINK, Tar River Poetry, Poet Lore, and others. New work is forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Friends Journal, and Plainsongs.