Festooned with an array of fresh-picked weeds
in the breast-pocket of his light blue button-down shirt
a gentleman rides a subway car quietly
in the early evening of a warm New York night:
There is a suitcase sitting next to him
that does not belong to either he
or the dirtied waif on the other side
of the upright bar they both grip.

The waif glances sidelong at the gentleman –
the only other passenger in that particular car –
and takes interested note of the weeds which
so prominently adorned his person. He nods.
“Got a little girl?” The waif asks, making clear
that the nod was toward the gentleman’s greenery.
“Yeah,” The gentleman replies sheepishly,
“She’s 7 today. A real sweetheart. A gem, really.”

“Seems like it.” The waif says with another nod
as the subway begins to slow, finally screeching
to a soft, if shaky, stop. The doors open but
no one gets on. The gentleman does not move an inch.
The waif is fingering a knife in his pocket,
but the Gentleman does not see it.

It is a swift and fluid motion that the waif makes
as he spins suddenly and draws his knife. He stabs
the gentleman seven or eight times (neither of them
were counting, really) and lets him drop to the floor
while snatching up the now (and always) unguarded suitcase.
The waif leaps from the car just as soon
as the doors start closing, making off with
another man’s tax information from the previous year,
and leaving a bloodied father of one to die,
and everything right with the world,


3 thoughts on “Scene from a New York Subway Train, Or, The bleakness of existence, existentially speaking

  1. I don’t check the Sieve for a day for the first time in months and THIS is what happens. I gasped, shivered, and then went and told people about it and had them read it too – though I’m still practically speechless. I’m wondering if the decrease in contributions and posting lately is manifesting itself in fewer, but altogether horrifyingly beautiful poems. Seriously: stunning.

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