Boston T, Red Line


And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger

            sextillions of infidels.” –Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

Between the subway tracks it wiggles,

GI drab, a mouse the color of the dirt

bedding the rails. The earth quakes

every four minute, and wrenching wheels

make the mouse heart clatter in a cage of roar.

Metal on metal shrieks, mindless of what lives

below the city. All tints and shades of racket

rattle a rodent’s bones, every condyle and ligament

resonating with impending train,

and he bears the insulting smells

of machines, urine, shoes.

Weighing less than a plum,

he crouches as tons of steel

grind and roar inches over his head,

a head the size of a dime, a life as long as his tail,

his heart a coffee bean. Mouse has no money,

No one cares if his children starve, and all

his aunts, uncles, and cousins live like him.


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