★ Poems ★
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