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On The Train, a Poem by Ed Meek

Written by Ed Meek.

Rubber straps shaped like nooses

hang from steel rods in subway trains.

Lucky for us, they’re too small

for human heads. Instead, we hang on

for balance when the train lurches

and careens around a bend.

It can be hard to keep your balance

in America where the politicians

steal us blind and line

the pockets of their friends.

Keep your eyes open.

These are the same souls

that hanged 19 women in Salem.

It turns out we are easily bewitched,

deluded by events beyond our control:

random fires, crop failures, seizures,

assassinations, terrorist attacks all demand

retribution. Someone has to pay

for our sins and when there are no witches

to be found, there are African-

Americans to shoot

or jail and electrocute.

Like Blacks and Asians,

all Arabs look alike. A little shock

and awe what they get.

Troops protect the oil;

Drones are missionaries.

Meanwhile, we hang on

for dear life. You can understand

our need for opioids, guns and a savior.

Someone who promises

a return to the life we never had.


Ed Meek has had poems published in The Sun, North Dakota Quarterly, and Plume. His new book, High Tide, came out last summer.


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