Photo by Erica Weidner
from the ⒺⓂ to the Ⓖ, mosaics burst from subway tile walls:
a pop of color in my grim grey commute,
a rush of freedom running between crowded trains.
suns explode with crimson color against turquoise skies,
lines of orange and green stem from celestial bodies,
all over a skyline of a fantastical city.
energy flows from one end of the passageway to the other
like the hordes of passengers who pass through
on their way to work or school or home.
a place to put on noise-canceling headphones
and let Queen carry you through Queens.
from the ⒺⓂ to the Ⓖ, they bring their wares and their woes:
a man selling automated toys, RC cars and Disney princesses
with cheap LED lights and tinny sound effects.
a woman cross-legged under a blanket clutching a bible
with a cardboard sign propped up against her side:
pregnant and lost my job, it reads.
a man playing a poor rendition of an AC/DC song;
a man in a KN-95 placing a bill in the guitarist’s overturned hat
which sits, inexplicably, on a small Islamic prayer rug.
a woman sitting behind a collapsible shopping cart
laden with plastic bags of churros and duros.
from the ⒺⓂ to the Ⓖ, we race without seeing anything around us:
without noticing the shapes of the mosaics on the walls
and contemplating the meaning of it all
without witnessing the poverty that sits in front of that beauty,
unthinking as we pass those who make a living
begging and busking underground.
we are absorbed in our lives, our commutes, our days;
we are unconcerned with art or beauty or poetry
or struggle or hustle or strife.
we rush through the hidden gem of New York’s subway system
with our headphones on and our eyes down.
Erica Leslie Weidner is based in New York City. She is the most avid defender of the G train, the city’s most maligned subway line. Her work appeared in Decoded Pride Anthology and will appear in an upcoming issue of Delicate Friend. She is currently a student at Pratt Institute, studying library science.