The Morning Commute

The Morning Commute

Eyes down, they find their seats,
Take out their iPads and phones
And work on the ride.
The train squeaks and jolts,
But they pay no mind:
The unnatural glow of their screens
Lulling them to complacency.
I'm the only one looking out the window,
Watching sleepy towns and snow-covered landscapes blur past....
Before we even reach the station,
They pack their bags and line up at the door.
Swarms of us move quickly down the stairs and onto the walkway.
Briskly they brush past,
Searching for openings in the sea of men and women wrapped in winter coats on their way to...
Somewhere.

As we reach street-level,
The crowd thins out some
And it's amazing to watch.
But watch carefully for falling ice from El train tracks, slush on the sidewalk and hurried people (eyes still down) rushing to get somewhere.
The crosswalk countdown goes fast, but I make it across before the cabbie lays on the horn and speeds through the intersection.

Ah, Chicago in winter.

The panhandlers and homeless mix with commuters,
Each one dressed in various layers against the cold;
Their breath comes out in steam engine-like puffs of smoke
And pigeons line the walkways, close enough to touch
(Although I wouldn't recommend it.)
My scarf has slid down
And the city wind rips at my throat with imaginary claws that still cause pain.
I pull my coat closer,
Quickening my step,
Only blocks from my destination.
The sunlight streaks from in between tall buildings,
Glinting off windows.
I glimpse bright colors in the sky.
Sunrise on Lake Michigan always astounds.
The bustling city is alive.
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