Subway, Dreams

The subway is the antibiotic drip to her sepsis: she can't disconnect. Walking down
Broadway, she craves a hummus sandwich, realizes it's not her stomach grumbling.
The city is hollow, convulsed. In the stations hang posters of Darius McCollum
(aged 40, notorious subway-lover, thief of control tower keys), recently released
from prison. Thinking is a complex of tunnels, compulsive in its tasks. When Darius
was 15, he stole and drove a train four stops. Sooner or later, obsessions travel,
even if they stay underground, shaking bodies with every step. She walks uptown
and all the way back down. She thinks about her absent lover, petite object a, other.
How many obsessions does he have? Chess. Star Wars. Duchamp. If he were her,
striding up Lexington Avenue past the Armory, he would consider urinals. Or now,
in Washington Square Park, his next chess move. She thinks only of him. Walks.
Thinks. Late at night, the trains are quiet inside as they break their 50 mph limit.
Deep in the convulsions of the maze, she falls asleep. She dreams about the one
thing she wants so badly it hurts her blood.

Christine Marshall's poems have appeared in places such as Best American Poetry, Agni, Beloit Poetry Journal, Memorious, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tupelo Quarterly and Western Humanities Review. She teaches at Davidson College. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761