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Subway Ride, Spring 2002

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The train moved me, clothes kept me seated.

I watched the tunnel walls blur and my face appear, nicer on black plexiglass.

The people carried off like I almost was

in the old childhood dream, my mother’s hand, the tornado in the parking lot.

Flooring soda and rain, a humble poser, a composed consumer.

Come back to me, I whispered to the purifying wind in a country I’d visited years earlier.

Come get me, I said to imaginary John Lennon in the passenger seat of my 1984 Volvo.

Nothing grows anywhere, I noted in the slick urine grime connecting two underground stations.

As for my wallet, it was light in my hand, fictitious, I didn’t deserve it — 

I held it up in the crowded terminal like a magician’s pigeon.

Or I hid it between my knees on the jerking seat.

Nobody wanted to touch me, or

nobody who wanted to could reach me here,

shaken like a screaming child under wet stairs.

Source: Poetry (November 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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Subway Ride, Spring 2002

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