Rush Hour Contrition || Catherine West

We sit, saying nothing, for the steel tube holds our words,
arguments, shattered beliefs, and deferred dreams. It cradles my
resentment, deftly conceals your ambition to leave, an entity apart;
this concrete, chemical city disappeared from memory.

Our faces side-by-side with eyes no longer connecting,
millimeters separating our space, blurred undefined horizons mark stops,
a slick measurement of time, lightyears away from honest desires,
planets removed from sacrifice, a universe beyond simple compromise.

We stroll along on glossy tracks with bright, rust-red spots of decay
in our twitching journey, reflecting unions of neglect, of pride and
onyx-tinged grudges, clawing the backs of minds, empty coffee cups,
waiting in small cubicles and glass surround offices.

Enlivening regrets etched on rumpled bedsheets with
maroon-smeared lipstick on your collar that is not mine.
Wine-red drops on my lapel, buttons on my blouse undone
I stumble past our threshold, the one where you carried me years ago,
where we laughed and loved, when the moon held captive our first
night, high and mighty.

I have my fault in this too.

Other bodies in this space cramped and crumpled together
sew shut our lips, lock our jaws and on the tube moves firmly
smoking its way westward, the skyline and us fading beyond vision and
fantasy, inching further down metal lace and wooden beam.

Silently I beseech you for some sign of forgiveness, some bend,
a small touch of your hand, just above my inside palm like you used to do.
But my skin remains cold, and I should not seek something from you.
I am not willing to give first.

This was originally published in Fall 2017 edition of The Helix.

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