Poetry, Grades 7 – 9: Second Place

The Night Train — Sawyer Michaelson

As the coffeehouse closes around midnight,
the college students with their dreams stored under their arms on a MacBook Pro
shuffle into the underground city along with the men in
dull beige trench coats and bright silk ties,
with leather briefcases full of paperwork, stress and a couple of pens.
The downtown B train waltzes into the 34th Street station with its wheels
screeching like a banshee in one of those horror movies the students love
and the men with the ties and briefcases would call immature.
The group of three friends set up against a support beam all wearing charcoal tank tops
beat their hearts out on Home Depot buckets with wooden spoons
sweating enough water to turn their shirts 50 shades of gray.
A muffled voice says something incomprehensible over the intercom, like the speaker system
just woke up after oversleeping by an hour and a half.
5 minutes later, the train pulls into West 4th Street,
and a few of the people shuffle off the train.
Stepping into the eerily quiet night, you can hear a faint screeching and
as the train stampedes away.
A faint jingling sound of change in a McDonald’s water cup in a shaking homeless man’s hand
is the only thing heard now.
The train has thundered on into the night.
The students venture back to their two-room apartments, while the businessmen go on to their
two-floor apartments with families inside,
already snoozing peacefully.
But the subway won’t stop.
How can it?
New York City is a body,
and the subway system is its veins.