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i have a rational fear of Mannequins—

my destination is the invisible realm
where Monotony dwells –

it slumbers in a dimly lit tunnel.
its daunting aura seduces the fine grey mist
rising from the subway. the subway sighs softly...
as I am welcomed into its hollow heart.

the doors creak shut, trapping in the musky scent
of early morning frustration
with a hint of stale exhaustion
and a dash of fresh newspaper.

the subway sputters to life reluctantly,
rumbling across the metal railing and
grumbling curses under its breath.

I glide my eyes over each of the passengers.

it scares me because
everyone is deathly silent
and white-knuckled,
as they clutch the overheads
and ensure that their briefcases
are melded to their dampened skin

and that salty scent of sweat
is my only assurance that they are not
window mannequins—

perhaps I am hallucinating
maybe I am looking through
a grey kaleidoscope
or it could be an experiment,
a real life model
of cellular mitosis

A single person copied
over and over and over…

With the same tight lips
And narrowed eyes and
Poised stance
With overly square shoulders and
Crisp business suits

The John Doe the Mister CEO the
anonymous business man
the Very Important Politician
reflected back at me a hundred times
no, ten thousand times

and my vision swims— I might be
looking through the bulging end of a telescope
the white noise the blank noise the the the
lack of noise, it hurts my ears –
not a single twitch, tweak of the nose, cough

they are all perfectly still and
perfectly poised and perfectly silent
each turned 45.7 degrees from one another
each with size eleven shoes and
perfectly tailored blazers—
perhaps even the same barber

maybe they all know each other
and they all came from the same
financial conference or banking firm
or Supreme Court hearing, or
maybe they are Wall Street brokers—

My mind slips from my grasp and
a wave of nausea overtakes me.
I feel my eyes glaze
as my mouth ever so slowly creeps
into a tight line.

my eyes narrow to slits
the backpack hunch I’ve had
since grade school disappears
business attire the color of dust
clothes me and somehow I reach up to
clutch the overhang

and when the subway stops I
step off into the mist
that somehow doesn’t look like mist
anymore



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