On The Subway

  Staring tentatively into a stranger’s ear, not my child’s ear,
  after an era of staring only into my child’s ear, this ear’s

  exponentially distant, strange.  Is everyone’s flesh equivalent?
  This other’s ear’s alien. My listening’s non-specific,

  storm drain poured-through, funnel-to-faraway. Intoxicated
  by flotsam. My eye, the stranger’s ear. All down the creamy

  convoluted walls, sounds drip. I know it’s a poem. It’s raining, chains
  of raindrops suspended from street level gratings, super-saturated

  molecules metrically strike the tracks, a playroom’s glock-
  enspiel. In the dark my listening dims. A smoke-drowsed swarm

  surrounds, a humming fills the spaces between my ears and the stranger’s
  like the din of protests many blocks away, like distant music

  leaking from ear buds, broken lyrics breaking news: I overhear:
  there have been unprecedented reversals of power,

  bomb-blasts in my native city, mudslides others. And I understand because
  I feel (falling asleep, my face almost disappearing

  into my child’s face), the obliteration of entire coastal regions
  by freak waves. Still, staring into such singularity all these years,

  all I can think of is to make others to accompany, more waxy, inner-lit
  caves to disappear into, more lilies to live inside. Uncountable

  transformative events disturb the world, I lean close to the caves
  I love to explore—smaller, deeper, narrower corridors
  formed infinitely-small gesture by infinitely-small gesture . . . . 
  When eruptions send lava rumbling our  way, I and my children,
  transfixed by our situation, were permanently positioned, staring into 
  and being stared into.
Published in Literary Imagination Volume 15 Number 1 2013