The Scent of a Subway Car, Empty Except for One


At every stop, the world rushes
in, then billows out like strangling
smoke from cool arson. Death smells
sweet, like stargazers, roses, lilacs
en masse, but this is the stench of life
and centrifugal force. This is the tang

of dominoed days lived end to end,
evening cocktails with colleagues
to draft with the boys to the cheapest
of wines without conscience, fast food
then no food then what’s been discarded,
the waste of the world from it all.

This is the reek of withholding our water,
the means to quenching our thirst. He will
look your way, see the walls of you, go back
to sleep, for now. No one contemplates
the subject of his dreams. He dreams in color.
He dreams of sheets flapping on clotheslines.


Places I've Been

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