Oxygen Delivery

Every other day Epiphany rides the inbound Blue Line,
only once pickpocketed on there. Or her boyfriend sits
in tight-packed stop-n-go, a tense crawl in a tiny green car
out the Kennedy. It’s every Chicagoan and their irate mothers
against every other, playing at potential collisions, cynics
forming then discarding murder reveries,
moving in rough synchrony. Windy City
travel travails, mixed with life discoveries
Epiphany’s amassing. The steady drag of transit process,
also a form of progress, regardless. Some evenings
they’re loose in the Loop, but there’s work to do to live.
There’s this city to bite a chunk from, a street-fighting city
that might bite back. Tough crowd in rush hour, the masses
hauling ass in miniaturized tanks, automotive manhood extenders.
They’re mensches (maybe), worthy people, when not embattled
on expressways, when not stealing on trains. Epiphany paces
her rate of exposure to the bristling masses. It keeps her fresh to rest,
to clear the strings of obstacles, again. Day off,
day on, blue train, bumper-road.

Todd Mercer moderates the Writers Squared Series at the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letter in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He won the first Woodstock Writers Festival’s Flash Fiction contest. His chapbook, Box of Echoes, won the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press contest and his digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, was published by Right Hand Pointing (2015). Mercer’s poetry and fiction appear in journals such as Apocrypha & Abstractions, The Camel Saloon, Camroc Press Review, Cheap Pop, Eunoia Review, The Lake, The Legendary, Midwestern Gothic and theNewer York.