Tony Medina

I am as isolated as Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Never to be born, neither to be crowning.
To whom shall I bequeath these lungs
That bare the markings of stale air
Gone viral? I am a virtual prisoner
To maladies unseen, a spine harnessed
Like a broke horse or crumbling column
Of the Coliseum. If only I had traveled
There along the creaking back of this
Desolate rail, where I, unmasked,
Ambushed by hacks and sneezes, inherit the
Hostility of gutter stares in this crematorium
Of a choking city, eighth level of Dante’s hell.
Should I have swallowed the third rail?Or
Barricaded myself in the conductor’s car,
Careening into darkness and light
And darkness, once again? O, Elizabeth
What was it like for you those sweltering nights
You longed for London fair who turned you
Out like the plague as you strolled along
Piazzas breathing in the ruins of ancient
Air, your bones a cathedral scaffolding
Such burning flesh Sistine Chapel
Of despair?

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