Poetry & Prose

The Life and Times of a Subterranean


Clusters of humans gather behind the yellow line

headphones pushed into ears,

tunnel-vision engaged with phone screens—

together but silent.


A frail, Asian immigrant man

is looking through the crowd.

He drags a dry bow

across the strings of his violin.


Screeching, still romantic.


A leaky pipe dripping overhead adds soft percussion,

contributing another drop to a small pool

collecting in a dank corner.


Rounding a corner,

the train lights shine in the tunnel.


Humans scurry down escalator stairs;

space between bodies behind the yellow line

begins to shrink.


Morning commuters,

noses buried.

Books and newspapers do the trick.


Lights beam,

steadying;they blaze straight ahead

staring the crowd in the face.


A wall of wind comes on like a gust;

the procession of cars cling, whistle on their rails.


As the train rolls to a stop,

the humming, buzzing crowd swells behind the yellow line,

pushing, slinking in front of one another.


The doors slide open.

In a matter of seconds, the cars are populated.

The doors slide closed in orchestration

and the train blazes forward.

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