Twin silhouettes of geese against a grey sky.
Mushrooming umbrellas beneath.
Jazz monuments with limp shoulders.
Hung heads dressed in black coat and black tie.
The bass guitar tripped over the horizon,
With the cymbals and drums playing double-time to catch up to the horns.
Early morning ushered in the daylight.
The amplitude of the city street fell away from the horizon,
With the decay of urban nightlife before the presence of the dawn.
Pulling back the remaining covers, Socrates fanned his legs around to touch the floor and hung his head. Looking in the direction of the bathroom, he could hear water bouncing off the basin. “Hey! Don’t use up all of the hot water!?” Walking over to the window, he looked down into the arteries of the city, I hate mornings and I hate going to work, he thought to himself. “When the zombie apocalypse hits…” He mumbled.
“What? I can’t hear you!” She replied.
He repeated himself again. “I said, don’t use up all of the hot water!”
“I can’t hear you! I’m in the shower.”
With mild frustration, he waived his hand in the direction of the bathroom and lowered his voice, “Never mind.”
He glanced over at the clock on the microwave. “Shit, I’m gonna be late.” He quickly dressed, splashed water on his face, and brushed his teeth in the kitchen sink, before reaching for the door.
He yelled back, “I’ll see you later,” as the door locked behind him.
Socrates sat on the train thinking about how he should organize his day once in the office. He sat back and slowly scanned the interior of the train car. His eyes came to rest on a young woman two seats over, opposite side of the car. A dark-skinned shorty wearing a hoodie, jeans, and a tight cotton shirt. The shirt had an image of two stick figures, with x’s over their eyes, in an eyebrow raising position that read the “The F’ing Dead.” She had two silken, pig-tail braids, full of dark curls falling out of her hood and onto her shoulders. His eyes scanned upward, drawing the line from her chin to her lips; full brown lips. She caught his stare with a slight look of annoyance, but maintained the connection for a few seconds before adjusting her headphones and looking away.
The train operator squinted as he looked down the tracks. He could just make out an object in the distance growing in size. Once the lights began to come into view, he realized an approaching train was on the same tracks “Shit!” The operator pulled on the brake, filling the subway tunnel with the sounds of screeching metal.
In a matter of seconds, the trains began to swallow each other. Lights flashed. Metal. Glass. Shadow. The windows buckled under the pressure, splintering and spitting shards of glass and pieces of metal at brothers, sisters, mothers, wives, boyfriends, and friends of people who had assumed their safe return at the end of the workday.
Pushing their way into the forward cars, the train cars in the rear pulsed with adrenaline. Anguish. Panic. Terror-stricken screams. Handrails, forcibly dislodged from their moorings and fell upon the passengers, who attempted to shield themselves with cotton sleeves and naked skin. In the blink of an eye Socrates watched as number fifty and fifty-one exhausted their ghosts. Ethereal howls. Evacuated vessels resisting the physics. Number fifty-two, the young woman, fell in slow motion with her eyes closed and her slack mouth open. Her body bounced as her headphones came to rest on the disturbed earth of the train’s floor.
In an instant everything went black and became quiet. The darkness. Socrates lay on the floor, unconscious, while his poems forced forward from his backpack, spread out near him on curled paper, like fallen leaves.
To Be Continued…
by malakhai jones
© Copyright 2016