the early train howls like a tower collapsing
& crawls down the sunblurred tracks
towards the platform. the tracks steam off the evening
nightsweat while thirty newspapers flick & shudder
in the wind of stillwaking breath,
that last free exhalation before they fold
against a desk or a phone or a grave.
you're slumped against a picture of the system
displayed on a colorful map behind a glass barrier,
and all you want is the kiss of a distant bed.
a student balances styrofoam coffee
on a stack of plasticwrapped textbooks
(one Math, one Science, one Ethics).
he digs freshcut nails into the transparent skins
but they wont peel away. his hands slip--
brown blood & steam streaks on ironed pants,
& he glances around, at others, at you,
eyebrows raised, lips tight.
ten years later the early train arrives.
doors hiss & split, gathered pigeons flee
& give way to crowds surging on platform,
faces that stop & contort their necks,
as if deciding between unbiased love or fear
towards the colors of the faces around them.
& on the platform pale guitarists
hold out cases for raindrops & pennies,
men & women watch their waistbands stretch,
watch other heels hit the earth & take off
while theirs don't....
you grasp the morningcold railing
of the train, to lift yourself,
but as you do a scream rises like a Cold War siren.
thirty feet away a woman crumbles
to the pavement, her long leather bag torn open,
coins & receipts, old clothes scattered like dust.
she fumbles to stop their inertia,
you consider helping--but then the driver barks:
stop staring & take a fucking seat!
seconds later you're sagged against a tinted pane.
it's morning in America & you just want to sleep.
Michael Patrick McSweeney is an artist and educator from the Boston region. His work has appeared in numerous journals and various regions of the Internet thanks to truly wonderful individuals. He is also the founder and chief financial officer of a used submarine conglomerate, the business website of which can be found at discountsubmarines.wordpress.com, and he hopes you have a great day.