Today's poem is by Dan Albergotti


Somewhere beneath 125th Street there's a small machine
so important that crowds gather, as if around a fire,
just to hear its tiny engine hum, to feel its modest warmth.
Upon this small machine, it seems, everything depends.
When it breaks down, the people look around, wait in silence
for the repairman to appear and convert their anxiety
to awe. They watch in reverence as he begins to massage
the machine back to life with his wrenches and oils.
Even the child peeking from behind her mother's peacoat
seems transfixed. From somewhere down the tunnels
comes a faint chorus of angelic voices that sounds
just the slightest bit like the whir of wheels on rails.

When the engine begins to purr again, the crowd applauds.
But I can't say whether it's out of admiration or relief.
And I can't say what the small machine really does.
The story would be better if the repairman were blind.
Maybe he is. I'm getting most of this from hearsay.
I suppose it could all be made up. But don't you love
the idea of the repairman? And don't you hope
he's trained a promising young apprentice?

Copyright © 2014 Dan Albergotti All rights reserved
from Millennial Teeth
Southern Illinois University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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