Friday, March 14, 2008


Belly filled train cart, then a jolt. Totting tot topples over, wheeling round woman like a whorl, the fox trot and click of a metro rail jerk and joggle. The red-nosed man swells like a coffee pot, thrown over with the surge, then the geriatric ward jig of wayworn bodies shaken to shambles. We unpeel. Then a heave, hefted from the undertow of a gullet, hands sprawled out like ferns, bent-backed, furrowed brow and stern. Regenesis on the railway, we unfurl back into uprightness and rearrange, reassert ourselves, and the tunnels swallow us back into that gorge. I’m that reflection there, light diffused on the other side of a Plexiglas window. That disorder of small body noises, hollowed out cavities like a turkey dinner. But it changes now, between Atwater and Lionel, arguably bumpier than any swath of Montreal asphalt. I pour into him like water into a bay, even if it’s just the press of my back into the denim of his jacket, it’s a secret kept inside a chest and the crowdedness offers some gauze of pretense. And in that one drawn-in inhale of the metro submerged between stations, the flick of his zipper nearly makes me keel over dizzy in a tizzy. Then the snap back and clack of a briefcase, the outpour, the disembark, the shuffling of Dock Martins, the sloughing-off of our underground skins, Lilly-white in a bus terminal, behind us the chuffing carries on. The STM parade, a nether-world cavalcade, just an asteroid belt of moonish mugs circled round and round again in the digestive track of the city, churned into mulch. Skyscrapers sway like boat boughs, those masts; sidewalks matted with cigarette bud pâté. No more balloons, just plastic bags caught and swollen in tree branches. We carry on.

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