Vol. 1, No. 3: Slobberknockers & Buttonhooks photo

PLACEBO (I EXPECT)John Elizabeth Stintzi

In elementary school, as our whole class
practiced for the yearly track and field meet,
I got the idea that eating Tums on a run
would relieve me of the stitch in my side.
I remember fishing the roll from my pocket,
the chalk dissolving in my throat, the brilliance
blooming beneath my ribs, the placebo 
(I expect) vibrating along my body—a rush
akin to learning a cheat code for infinite life.
I can't remember the last time that I tried
to trick my body into becoming excellent
at something I didn't want to participate in. 
Or perhaps I could, but then (I expect)
that old stitch would migrate to my hand.