|A Subway Driver's Lament|
by Marc Sobel  /  poetry  /  10 Aug 2007
Delayed less than five minutes,
And already the flock squirms behind closed doors
Pounding with helpless fists against unrelenting steel
I am frozen, listening from my cell, disgusted
That such restrained fury lingers just underneath
The thin veil of politeness
Do I trigger their cages and release them,
Like animals into the wild?
Why do I do this, day after day,
The thankless monotony, the endless back and forth
I am a fractured pendulum, buried alive,
Swiping desperately at the bowels of the city
Through tunnels infested with rats and trash and decades of filth
Yet this button I hover over,
Like a wicked puppeteer, fingers bound with string,
Controls the fate of thousands
That sweaty mass of businessmen, teenagers and derelicts
Fumbling angrily with their overpriced accessories
What if I leave them there, rotting like fruit in the Sun,
For hours, for days, for weeks?
Whose fate hinges on the flick of a switch,
Wait like savages to tear me to shreds,
What if I flip the lever
And run the signals,
Steel dragging against steel
In that instant
I am their God.
And their prayers for mercy are to me.
But, like always, I am too weak
And though I know well the storm that rages just over the horizon
Still I hurdle myself headlong into the tempest
And release the doors.
- artwork by Leontine Greenberg -
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