by Len Krisak
I made her at least four hundred. Then,
There was the chair, on wheels blown up six inches
Wide. Figure both, five hundred. Up the ramp
She rolled, looming into my narrow ken.
A thing at which some human frailty flinches
Sometimes, her Michelin Man-like flesh— in damp,
Pneumatic sweats ballooning down the chair—
Tested the lift. A crank-and-cable winch
Turned by the driver-turned-dull-organ-grinder
Barely managed hoisting this bulk to where,
Mid-air, an arm gave out just as its linch-
Pin failed. Though all the magics used to bind her
Managed to hold, one wire snapped, and lashing
Out blindly, failed and found the driver’s eye.
The massive load, now elevated like
Some goddess scornful of the threat of crashing,
Sat still, its shape held up against the sky.
Impassive at that thrashing wire’s strike,
Suspended on her ticklish throne, her face
A blank, the trolley’s patron simply waited
(What resource did she have?). The platform crew’s
First-Aid kit came. The wheelchair sat in space.
And as the wretched driver’s lacerated
Socket began to bloom its blood-laced bruise,
I thought of how I’d make all this a sign
Of some portent our stasis was assuming.
And then I thought of what I might infer
Of all those riders stalled back down the line,
Cursing their luck, and bitching, whining, fuming,
Yet unaware of just how blessed they were.