NYC Subway, photo by Sarah Reck

Poem: Barrel of Commuters

NYC transit: an endless game
of barrel of monkeys, commuters spilling
out onto breeze-less subway platforms,
off the stairs onto cigaretted streets.
Once, again, repeat until
the next stop is mine, and I jostle
all elbows and umbrella bags for a spot
on the precipice. As though the mass
is whole, the train doors unstick
and out we tumble, never fluidly
thanks to the ear-phoned pole hugger
so caught up with Jay-Z that he doesn’t notice
the station light, or the doors wide, or each monkey
battling to step off and do the same again
at the top of bottlenecked stairs.
Underground is a sequeled New York,
a second set of rules and etiquette
that begin with a descent and
end with city stank but open air.

Salt Lick | Photo By Wen Zhang/Courtesy Flickr

Poem: Salt Lick

[Lot’s Wife]

She cooks with salt
harvested from the Dead Sea
by slaves’ calloused, brittle hands,
raining it over beef and lamb,
fingers cold as they press
each grain into sinuous muscle.
Year after year she seasons with
salt alone — sprinkled on meat,
on bread, on parsley, on each edible,
on every plate. Salt tastes in
her family’s communal meals,
to friends visiting, to strangers
entertained. As though salt fills
her own pores, cracking her
knuckles under the sting of
well water, she wrinkles and bends,
her own tears as dense as seawater.
Salt is part of her.