Washington D.C.

Riding the submerged subway
back to the bad part of the city.
The young black woman is
writing song lyrics into
a smudged composition book.
She’s blanketed in a sweater,
the wet July air forming tributaries of sweat at the
cusp of her hair.
I wonder what is so
to keep in that she is willing to
boil herself in those heavy knits.
The back of her right shoulder houses a
rip in the tightness of the yarn and I want to tell her-
that’s why you can’t find the words for your
next verse-
they have all run out on you,
sparking themselves happily against the tracks.

Domed and high ceiling’d
ridged concrete seams like the
and uncrackable ribs of some
unspeakable creature
growling beneath the steel and glass
exoskeleton of
this brittle city.
Swallowed into the
pulsing innards the
heat of digestion, churning riders over loose tracks
in a frenzy destined for the edges of the
desolate metropolis,
vomit scrubbed from the floors and
sweat wiped from the sticky pleather seats to
keep the nutrition less river of
white eyed poverty
trapped in the city’s
snaking stomach.


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