Bay Area Rapid Transit

The windows on the hillside glow
through mist that burns
away as the sun
raises gulls above the rooftops.
At the edge of America
summer is a chilly wind
and trees lean with its pull.
The streets awaken
into leaf rustle and sparrow
song. The radio speaks
many languages. Gophers
are at work in the underground.
It’s a dangerous time:
use caution, like the cyclist
with skin dark as fear
telling everyone he passes
what he has in his hand is “only
a cell phone, don’t worry
it’s only . . . ”

The train is a high speed fingernail
scraping against the dark
when it passes through the tunnel
before rising into daylight
where the call to revolution
is posted for all
who can read its fine print
to the end of the line.

It’s a street noise kind of day
with no more
than the usual music
from a vendor’s radio
and some traffic hum
until the voice wakes up
inside a man who sits
cross-legged and calls
the souls out from passersby
who walk contentedly away
without them.

The nails that hold it all together
have come loose: bundles
on the pavement, a constant call
for small change, and dreamscent
in the air. The crazy light
is spinning on the fire truck
come to carry midnight’s failing
heart away.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix and enjoys a view of the desert mountain that occupies its space surrounded by the city. He has had an unusual year in which watching the local wildlife has been a help in his recovery. Read other articles by David.