Like a wind

The wind has turned belligerent on its tumbling through town, forcing a hunch into my shoulders.
Crackling like an ice sheet, it overtakes the roadways,
trowels up skittering leaves, rifles dogs’ fur,
and writhes around houses and garages in their concrete settings.

Over pavestones where I have traced my lifeline a thousand times,
I race before the squall to the mouth of the subway.
The wind’s currents urge me into the tunnel.

Each obstacle on the way to the platform prompts me to race faster.

Students whose chatter, even in my own language, I can’t follow,
making their way to some assignment downtown,
to unfold a potential whose hope they are.

The security guard shaking off her fourth confrontation of the day,
eyeing a woman who was spewing curses to the crowd,
but who has now calmed down enough to continue her unplotted excursions.

A man with somber blue tie and sandstone face, leaving his third failed job interview,
his useless portfolio bag dangling from a tarnished shoulder.

A woman whose limbs twist like a Giacometti, who slinks as if embossing her footprints on the concrete,
recalculating continuously as she jousts on her phone with an ex-husband in El Salvador—
can she make sure this month’s remittance
will go into continuing her son’s education?

I thrust past these lives, like the wind, knowing not from whence it come,
heading toward a destination not of our choosing, or no destination at all.

Andy Oram
April 22, 2021

This poem was published in issue 19 of Wild Roof Journal, March 2023.

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