Three Tracks Slithering

The train rattled, like the sliding edge,
scree marking the boundary of a ravine;
along the broken window canyon, Brooklyn passed,
emblems screamed from every free surface,
claims to local dominance or some Lascaux mystery,
decipherable only by mystics and dime store Orphics
capable of condensing wisdom into tiny slips of paper
slid into the creases of disposable bent over cookies.

Hidden in a rat’s cage, blank box, bullet-proof
the teller – there were teller’s then – required exact change
the metamorphoses of overworld currency into Hades’ coin
marked plainly the transition between above and below
the three tracks slithering under the city’s belly
like a divided river, little islets of expectant people scribbling
noses buried in Posts and Times and daring anyone to interrupt
the solemn reveries of their incantations, the holy words
that would summon Charon’s oars with cuckoo’s chirps.


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