The sign says Do not hold doors, but sometimes
I’m overcome by my desire to hold them, some inexplicable love
for the way they automatically open & close,
these metal & glass subway cars devouring their temporary inhabitants
without asking anything in return;
sometimes I want to kiss the floor & bless it with every benediction,
my lips pressed against congealed coffee stains & chewing gum
because without this floor we’d be nothing; without this crust & mantle
we’d freefall to the Earth’s core & be vaporized by its liquid magma.
& so I’d ask the conductor to marry me for having guided us
safely beneath this sea, going down on one knee
& telling him/her that he/she means everything to me;
but the conductor’s cabin is sealed shut,
& I’m surrounded by commuters who are all like me & all different;
& I’d sacrifice my life for them, giving everything
to ensure their survival in these dark tunnels between these places we go.
& if I saw something, I’d say something;
I’d leap upon any suspicious package until the police arrived,
& even if they institutionalized me, I’d thank them for saving my life,
& I’d name my firstborn after their collective names,
praising whatever made this all, & I’d laugh,
knowing nothing’s sacred unless you know sooner or later, it’ll all be lost.
Jonathan Greenhause received a 2014 Willow Review Award, won Prism Review’s 2012-2013 Poetry Prize, and was a finalist in The Southeast Review’s 2013 Gearhart Poetry Contest. His poetry’s appeared or is forthcoming in The Believer, The Dark Horse (UK), The Malahat Review (CAN), Miramar Poetry Journal, and New Millennium Writings, and he and his wife are being raised by their 18-month-old, Benjamin Seneca. He also just finished reading the “Harry Potter” books and, wow, are they great!
Photo: “Immerse Reverberator,” from Buddy Beaudoin’s Pedalsmut Series