Captive and claustrophobic
in a space with too many people,
no empty chairs and uncomfortable
bodies line dirt-colored hallways,
a clock is frozen at 11:00,
and this is how time passes.
In the quiet room, ruffling newsprint,
an occasional cough, the dull hum
of traffic and a periodic vocal
sigh of discontent are the only sounds
as the man across from me reads
the telephone book, as he has been for 36 minutes,
licking three fingers to turn each page.
Outside our glass walls it vibrates
with muffled laughter from the
those who enjoy talking as pastime.
Names are announced and all freeze,
looking enviously on those chosen.
They are allowed to move. The herd is thinning.
In the free world contrails in the sky
represent humans traveling somewhere,
while I am forcibly stationary
on this lovely spring day.