Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Commuter Train

Horizontal lights glide through the dark.
commuters mere silhouettes in yellow rectangles

speeding on moonlit rails,
rocking in repetitive recumbent rhythms,

parsing the night with recollections
of the desultory nine to five

and all of its downtown asymmetry,
an urban life, towers and gridlock

unknown to the primeval forest
that opens narrowly for the diesel

hauling freight and fatigue,
the heft of bodies and suits

trying to unlearn the taxi horns,
the stoplights and pedestrian betrayals,

trying to forget the riddles posed
by the sun’s odd shadows on intersections,

the time of day always a mystery
since it moves like a glacier

just beyond sight of the gray monoliths
standing like Nazi guards.

But the train sweeps all the detritus away
by sheer force, its plowing

through White Plains, New Rochelle, Rye,
Mamaroneck, stations with Doppler bells

rising and falling, church bells calling
people back to their homes,

to scotch, anesthesia, the lethargy
of losing another day to God-knows-what.

The silver skin pulls into the train yard,
empty, emotions trickling into vapor,

its passengers having once more
commuted to and from their lives.

~William Hammett

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