Memories of the Elevated Subway
Sauntering, sluggish, overshadowed
by the tall company of close buildings, until
blossoms of sunlight scatter across the floor
beneath a spider-webbed window, lightening
hands latched onto poles and newspapers.
Steel wheels grind rails,
a dark tunneling overture for the descent.
Riding the metro, day
after day, the days themselves
repeating themselves themselves themselves.
Where are you now? I hear your voice echoing
the squeal and push of chafing steel,
feel your fingers pressing metal
for balance as the train corners hard
toward the portal to the underground.
At the tunnel, in the last moments
of light, I glance up––cool blue electricity
escaping drawn apartment drapes.
Two shapes cross the window, outlines
of the early evening blurred by dusk, still hovering
among tracks intersecting drafty triple-deckers.
I smell the mint leaves
you bathed your hair in, fresh goldenrod
you kept beside the bed. We sat up nights
on rooftops, dreaming of a someday Eden. Instead,
we kept one room, space for tarragon and basil,
the planter falling from the window box
as you clubbed both arms against my chest,
shattering on the street below, ending the year
of elevators and airplanes you never boarded.
- Jim Cronin
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Doug Holder, 25 School St.; Somerville, MA 02143.