Subway

A varied collection

we are

destination bound

gathering below the asphalt and concrete,

beneath the commerce and cabs  

the stainless halal food carts and steaming manhole covers,

to wait in dimly lit warrens

where the songs of dripping water and mournful saxophones

reverberate within porcelain tunnels

forever failing to tickle our melancholy.

We have mobile phones and folded papers,

briefcases and backpacks

today’s lunch and our belongings

waiting expressionless for the next train.

A tourist leans out over the moat

searching the darkness impatiently;

a drowsy light wobbles, deep inside the tunnel

suspended above the sparks

and screeching steel;

we know

the express at this station never stops

so barely note

the crowded train and blurred faces

that thunders by

the veterans of these roadways and tunnels

who will secretly glimpse

the menacing mote,

the soot and grease and filth,

the third rail

and all that.

It emerges from and returns to

darkness

as winds from its passing

summon the trash, dust, and newsprint aloft;

it sails behind the diminishing din

like the tail of a kite.

A familiar breeze blows across the platform

signaling the arrival of our train.

We take our places

as we go about the business of

here and there

with twisted faces, elbows and sweat;

a solitary, Bruegelesque task

 until we emerge above.

       David Heaney

       December, 2018

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