On the Subway with Dali
Margaret Stawowy

When Salvador and I ride the Metro,
we take turns holding the marten’s leash.
Her name is Princess.
I secretly plot returning her to the wild,
but Salvador reads my mind:
“She’s not real,” he tells me. “I’m dead,
and you’re just a thought. We’ll ride until the cheese
clock melts and it’s time for you to wither.”

The map overhead plots the constellation of stations,
but we’re at none of them and never will be.
Above ground, lovers live in the light of arms, hips, lips.
We lack that kind of oxygen down here.
He’s hogging the air again.
Needed for genius, he once explained.
Or ego, I think.

Not to complain, but when I open my eyes
he’ll be in a book,
famous, distant. Even alive,
he’d say he didn’t know me.
There are times I’d prefer Chagall, Van Gogh, Rousseau—
But none of them ride the Metro—
not on my train of thought.

Margaret Stawowy's poetry has appeared in Little Patuxent Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Ginosko, Atlanta Review, West Marin Review, and Memoir, as well as Changing Harm to Harmony: Bullies and Bystanders Anthology. Margaret lives in northern California and loves to hike during the rainy months when she can enjoy the company of mushrooms and salamanders.