MONDAY: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Subway

BY PETER TAYLOR

Published previously in The Toronto Quarterly (2012). Copyright is held by the author.

1.
Waves of us underground, rocking
in a mechanical lap, gliding under our lives,
resting, sliding, leaning into curves,
shuddering and returning
to the same graceful unison
of bodies.

2.
7:30 salmon run: coats, boots,
chaos converging through
doorway rivers, crushed,
propelled, suspended
in the irony of a name:
Union. 

3.
Escalators say a lot about people.
Left — Type A.
Right — Type B.
Stairs — Type E.
Me on the platform,
wondering.

4.
Who
will sit beside me?
Don’t
sit beside me.
Please
sit beside me.

5.
Standing.
Sitting.
Hanging.
Crawling.
Leaning.
Pushing.
Dancing.
Freelance.
Where else do you get this much choice?

 6.
Hopscotch…
Step on a crack,
Break your mother’s back;
Step on a rail,
All your hearts will fail.

7.
Day: people.
Night: cleaners, inspectors, electricians, 
welders, engineers, generator operators,
saw-cutters, asbestos abatementors, 
pipefitters, sand blasters, excavators,
rail grinders, concrete pourers, bums,
and the occasional coroner.

8.
Jumpers.

9.
Lost and Unfound: 
shoes, watches, jewellery, umbrellas, skates,
chain saws, sanders, drums, coat racks,
drills, filing cabinets, hairspray,
flashlights, books, computers,
chairs, skateboards, lasers,
incense candles,
cell phones. 

10.
Blessing:
St. Andrew.
St. Clair.
St. George.
St. Patrick.

11.
Missing:
Abraham.
Bahá’u’lláh.
Buddha.
Guru Nanak.
Muhammad.
Vishnu.
Xuan Wu.

12.
Winter is disorienting.
Black.
Snow.
Black.
Snow.  
Black. 
Snow
Nature as confused as I am.

13.
While the lady beside me
sits and reads her newspaper,
as do I.

3 comments

  1. Richard West

    I’m not a knowledgeable person when it comes to poetry.
    But I liked these stanzas. Or is it a series of totally separate verses?
    Does it matter?
    It touched me, is all that matters.

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