Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Rosaly DeMaios Roffman: Train Dance

So many vacant eyes with a history

of not making trouble move up

as reprimand on Bleeker and Union Square

and the train pushes on—and then a small man

disturbs dreamers between newspapers

until they tire of ignoring him

or get off at Lafayette or 34th


To follow night with the energy of an intruder

is to settle with new delays in tunnels

And eventually he gives us cards

with a language that broadcasts

what I was thinking about the plant

sprouting into the night

not yet up in the sod


I am deaf

I am dumb

Give what you can


The purest way to ride subways

is to conjure up protectors of lilies–

I consider not coins

but a trip back to the flowers

of those botanical gardens

step with him in better places

above the ground where birds sing

and signs are posted for generations


Weary of sitting, of standing

of managing trains daily, I look away

from the eyes

from the ears

from the lips

of the stranger


We—all of us give what we can

not enough for lilies to persist

Brooklyn Botanicals Sprouting

The sign written by a nameless person

You can’t see them but you can hurt them


The plants beneath walking are here


I know all this without signs

and the agony of cards


Copyright 2017 Rosaly DeMaios Roffman


Bleecker Street / Broadway Subway sign


Brooklyn Botanic Garden Station street stair  

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