I remember the two dollar bills, crumpled and limp as wet tortillas;
And the lone quarter, gleaming slyly;
And how, when I put them into the machine, it flashed, “Single Ride,”
And I replied, via button-pressing, “yes,”
A MetroCard, durable, spit from the slot,
Its papery feel also kind of a plasticky feel.
Sliding through the turnstile swipe thing;
“Please Swipe Again,” it demands, silently, pleading,
So I swipe it again, like a lover’s hand, swiping, if you know what I mean.
Oh cheap MetroCard, a single crease renders you useless,
No MTA worker nor passerby can fix you;
Endlessly declaring “Unable to Read,”
A refund will come in six weeks, what a farce.
My $2.25 MetroCard, you are not here,
Waiting in my pocket, next to $17 in cash and some gum.
No subway station violin-player nor obscene graffiti on a rom-com poster ad can console me,
Nor a copy of King magazine, from the underground newsstand.
If only I could cling to your slightly cheaper cost forever,”
My bent $2.25 MetroCard, my paper-plasticky pass to our metropolis.
Alone on this blog I speak the words of my sorrow:
I, one straphanger in a city of millions,
Have one less quarter to do laundry.