Subway Seethe

By J. Allyn Rosser b. 1957
What could have been the big to-do
that caused him to push me aside
on that platform? Was a woman who knew
there must be some good even inside
an ass like him on board that train?
Charity? Frances? His last chance
in a ratty string of last chances? Jane?
Surely in all of us is some good.
Better love thy neighbor, buddy,
lest she shove back. Maybe I should.
It's probably just a cruddy
downtown interview leading to
some cheap-tie, careerist, dull
cul-de-sac he's speeding to.
Can he catch up with his soul?
Really, what was the freaking crisis?
Did he need to know before me
if the lights searching the crowd's eyes
were those of our train, or maybe
the train of who he might have been,
the person his own-heart-numbing,
me-shoving anxiety about being
prevents him from ever becoming?
How has his thoughtlessness defiled
who I was before he shoved me?
How might I be smiling now if he'd smiled,
hanging back, as though he might have loved me?

Source: Poetry (April 2005).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

April 2005
 J. Allyn Rosser

Biography

J. Allyn Rosser was born in Pennsylvania and attended Middlebury College in Vermont as well as the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a doctorate. Her works include Bright Moves (1990), which won the Morse Poetry Prize, and Misery Prefigured (2001), winner of the Crab Orchard Award. In 2007 she was awarded The New Criterion Poetry Prize for a new book of poems entitled Foiled Again, published in the Fall of 2007. . . .

Continue reading this biography

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.