Subway Pastoral
by Michael Dalelio

A man tugs at his trench coat,
belt dangling from loops,
no buttons hooked into holes,
belly folded over his belt.
A woman with heels to her chin,
once girlish curls now twirls of frizz.
Her body a crystal ball,
used up by the future
as much as the past.
Even here we don’t belong.
A trashcan sits near a bench, full,
a plague of stuff to rid ourselves of.

I search the tunnels,
cool brown, darker.
What beast might come?
A roar releases,
envelopes the edge
of the platform,
the span of concrete,
swallows us.

This place looks best empty,
no one waiting, no shoes clicking,
no papers rustling, just a trashcan,
newly bagged, empty, shining
in the lamps, light falling
over plastic kinks, shadow, shine,
like water down a rock face,
white foam, dark rock,
a mist of water, an aura of light.

Copyright 2023 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.