Study In A Late Subway


Muriel Rukeyser

The moon revolves outside; possibly, black air

turns so around them facing night's concave,

momentum the slogan of their hurling brains

swung into speed, crying for stillness high

suspended and rising on time's wave.

Did these tracks have a wilder life in the ground?

beaten from streams of metal in secret earth:

energy travels along the veins of steel,

their faces rush forward, missiles of discontent

thrown vaguely to the south and north.

That hand is jointed loosely on his neck,

his glossy eyes turn on the walls and floor:

her face is a blank breast with sorrow

spouting at the mouth's nipple. All eyes move

heavily to the opening door,

regarding in dullness how we also enter.

An angle of track charges up to us, swings

out and past in a firework of signals.

Sleepily others dangle by one hand

tense and semi-crucified things.

Speed welcomes us in explosions of night: here

is wrath and fortitude and motion's burning:

the world buries the directionless, until

the heads are sprung in awareness or drowned in peace.

Sleep will happen. We must give them mourning.


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