Friday Poem

Emergency Measures

I take Saturday’s unpopulated trains,
sitting at uncontagious distances,
change at junctions of low body count, in off-hours,
and on national holidays especially, shun stadia
and other zones of efficient kill ratio,
since there is no safety anymore in numbers.

I wear the dull colors of nesting birds,
invest modestly in diverse futures,
views and moods undiscovered by tourists,
buy nothing I can’t carry or would need to sell,
and since I must rest, maintain at several addresses
hardened electronics and three months of water.
And it is thus I favor this unspecific café,
choose the bitterest roast, and only the first sip
of your story, sweet but so long, and poignantly limited
by appointments neither can be late for, and why now
I will swim through the crowd to the place it is flowing away from,
my concerned look and Excuse me excuse me suggesting
I am hurrying back for my umbrella or glasses
or some thrilling truth they have all completely missed.

by James Richardson
 By the Numbers