metro delay

the air-conditioning keeps the temper in check,
when the refrain goes on —

“there will be a short delay to this service,
we apologize for the inconvenience.”

the convenience is not a matter of concern
for empty faces that only think of pocket-sized
dreams, the delay is but a pause to this pau-
city of time, the one so accommodating of high
-rises as well as the debris of urban dreams,

there is a silence in the noise, the quizzical
faces look at each other, to the wrists, to find
out a kernel of truth, a certain wonderment
at being out of place and time, disenfranchised
in intervals from lifelines, and the tepid train-
journeys. there is a marked departure from
routine and no one knows what to do with it.

it doesn’t require much charge of reverie or
luminescence of this compartment to diffuse,
before the doors close & everything moves on.

the city is ingrained deep inside all of us, as
we all jolt awake to the further announcement,

this time, of the next station and what it means.
life hangs like an unbalanced question-mark
before it dissipates and feet rush out like faith.

© Anmol Arora

Day 22
(Inter)National Poetry Month


7 thoughts on “metro delay

  1. Jim says:

    Most city lines run their schedules as if the trains were tied to the master clock. When this goes out of whack riders are jolted by the thought of irregularity rather than by sharp bend spots in the tracks.
    You told this so well, even have them checkking with a still better standard, their watches. It made for an enjoyable ride.
    Thank you for hosting, the moon is stable as well.


  2. This is so familiar, Anmol. In the UK we suffer from wrong leaves in the autumn, snow in the winter and the general inability to cope with summer weather! We had trains in which the air-conditioning failed, and people fainted, and my husband was delayed by cows on the track which damaged a train – and one poor animal died. I remember those ‘empty faces that only think of pocket-sized dreams’ from my journey to my daughter’s the previous weekend. You’ve captured the anxiety of delayed travellers perfectly in this poem.


  3. That is a telling commentary on our urban dystopia… “for empty faces that only think of pocket-sized dreams,” – that cannot be better expressed. We see them everyday, everywhere… heck, we are them.


  4. Wow. Temper and temperature kept cool. A delayed train and “there is a marked departure from / routine and no one knows what to do with it” we are creatures of habit and when one thing slips out of time it’s all liable to collapse. But time rushes on like a moving train while “life hangs like an unbalanced question-mark / before it dissipates” We all eventually move on.


  5. The emptiness and desperation of the urban dweller going about their robotic business is evident. and real. pocket size dream means you are doing well. Well written poem.


  6. The phrase “pocket sized dreams” draws my eyes. It reinforces the feeling of people who have trimmed themselves to fit into just as much space as society allots them, and no bigger. Even the movement here is determined by a force outside them, and there is annoyance instead of relief at those brief moments of system breakdown.


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