Jake Eduardo Vermaas


[ on a brokedown MAX train thinking of Icarus ]

The ecosystem of a train car: sterile, hermetic in
diffidence or exile. Heads sealed in dark mirror

glow eyes narrow out of focus at a distance of the
floor slick white plastic casing enclosing gloss

surfaces sliding selves contained away from hard
edges figures & divisions of city blocks where

once stood farms. But suppose one day was unique
say a backroom deal spilled resistance from a cigar

lit room’s door to steps city hall washed away on
batons and pepper spray waves to the street

become citizens blocking tracks. Say this day
the orange container you entered was instead

faded yellow darkened & altered from another
route, say at the halfway point on the new bridge

it gripped the tracks & stopped. Then, the mobile
city in miniature would at once be newly alien, an

immediate landscape of blurred faces and bodies
firming to fellow fares, to unknown names and

stories. Activity surrounds stillness as workers
labored orange vests in vain, silent curses versus

control panels on the fritz. After a time, small talk
exhausted locked in while walkers pass as if on rails

forced eyes meet in shared affliction a clever plot
to bolt. An old couple gazes out a window perhaps

imagining melted wings, the geometry of a farmer’s
field, a splash in the river at the edge of our frame.