Reading Celan in a Subway Station
I can’t say whether the other commuters stand arrested
by this music—the accordion player
near the vendor’s hutch—but it comes toward me, world-
sorrow drafting through the hyaline
shell of myself in thought. Reconstruction delays,
the stench of piss & nothing
weather shaped, nothing ocean spun. Steam hammers
& dynamite tunneled out
a labyrinth, this inner ear where eros doesn’t linger.
Unbeautiful in its volts & watt-hours,
its generations of mice. The wall is dinged & saccharine-
glazed where he plays in a suit.
I follow his fingers’ minuscule work over a column of keys,
drawing out & in the melody
of that pleated lung. It lifts away from us climbing the stairs
past horse patrols & jewelry hawks,
past scaffolding & saplings blown like tonophants,
past fruit stands, placards & idle
Greyhounds, the corridors of silver buildings, the thunder
with silver veins—it lifts away
because it seeks the high, lone sun. Admit his music,
Cause-Of-All, it is handmade.
“Reading Celan in a Subway Station” from You Ask Me to Talk about the Interior by Carolina Ebeid. Published by Noemi Press. Copyright © 2016 by Carolina Ebeid.