Monday, October 15, 2018


man crying on the blue line L (chicago)

it’s probably true
that in big cities
you can sob on a train
and people will most likely
leave you alone
it’s not even rush hour here
in the great city of chicago
and we’re packed on this train
some people coming home from work
others doing touristy things
like me
talking to my wife
about deep dish pizza and wrigley field
about maybe moving
out of new york city and coming here
he’s in a seat midway
down the train car
head buried in his hands
sobbing openly
chest heaving into his knees
the seats around him empty
even though people have to stand
the seats around him diseased
with his sadness
he doesn’t look homeless
so i wonder what else
america has done to him
in these dark days
it could be any number of things
in this country
we treat each other like animals
we watch america chew
someone up
take in the spectacle
like its on video and not right before our eyes
then we check the weather
and our twitter feed for more
i don’t know
what’s happened to this guy
but, jesus christ,
there should be some comfort
only i know
i’m not going to be the one
to ask him what’s wrong
i know my role in this hard land
only too well
and that’s to get off the train
at the next stop
just like everyone else
pull myself up
by my worn-out bootstraps
shake that scene out of my mind
his crying
his bellowing into flesh
and metal and plastic
pray to god that’s never me
then turn with a smile
to ask my wife
what it is that she thinks she wants
for lunch.

--John Grochalski


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