A commuting poem: The train is always late

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The train pulls toward the station and you stand, claiming your place in the line of the first to exit

The train empties like a torn serpent, its entrails pouring from a series of wounds

The flood of people starts as a trickle and becomes a rush as they jockey for a forward position

Free of the train, walking fast, moving with a single thought of gaining the doors to escape the bowels of the station

But really we’re just late for work

The lady in front of you walks with a cane, and she’s hobbling fast, as if she’s being chased

And she is

You try to pass her, and like cars on a freeway, so does everyone else

And as the flow of the train’s entrails empties onto the platform, the wriggling mass spreads outward and forward like blood toward a drain

And we fight for position until we are slowed and blocked and then we groan and complain about the lateness of the hour

The congestion of the sliding doors is an equalizer, putting you back in sync with those who lined up early

And in our mad rush or a deliberate wait, we all exit the station at the same time, spreading out into the city like fire

Breathing finally and texting our superiors and subordinates as if this is something rare and altogether strange

To wake tomorrow and do it all again

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