following a train of thought on the mrt

    Reading this, your time has not come. Neither
    has your destination, no matter how hard
    you tap your feet, clutch at the handrails.
    You've run out of New Paper, passed Streat
    after street, had enough already of Today.

    You stand clear of the doors, note the stops, hijack
    a seat by pretending like everyone else, to be dozing.
    The train takes long slow breaths. A young woman
    next to you, riding the locomotion of sleep,
    allows her hair to fall in curlicues of black
    on your shoulder, in whiffs of fresh shampoo,
    air-conditioning, skipped lunches and loneliness.

    Leaning by the door, a boy and a girl are laughing
    so hard they forget they're holding hands still
    in uniform. One watching lady frowns, from memory
    or despair, it's hard to tell. This guy standing so close his
    crotch is at eye level, chatters sweet nothings into space
    courtesy of Nokia. Trapped in posters, celebrities
    grin endlessly. If the train crashed now

    names would have no meaning. Instead you'd notice
    this red dress, that purple shirt, a bra-strap out of place
    before the screams, barked orders, tears, and later
    cameras. Still, you might be spared the terror,
    the unenviable questions. You could ride on
    through the quiet tunnels, to where the night sky
    is absolute, dream dark and free of stars.

28 September 2001   22:42 hours
epitaph: In the end { } poem for an engineer