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The Life and Times of a Subterranean

Poetry & Prose | October 8, 2012

 

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.