Saint Christopher in the Copenhagen Metro
The country and the sea are glossed in kilometers per hour. Sleek cars
carry passengers past bedroom neighborhoods, industrial parks,
hotels, high rises. Midsummer, and the canal brims with tourboats,
bicyclist zip along the streets. Taxis idle at lights. Once I lived by a river,
ferrying travelers across a muddy tide with hope for absolution.
Then a miracle transported me against my will and left me weighted.
I can feel still the squelch of mud and muck, the impossible weight
of the child. What was he doing so far from home? Grace was lighter
than sainthood, the burdensome prayers of intersession. No need
for forgiveness here; tickets suffice for passage. Commuters
wolf down egg and orange sandwiches; couples hold hands in the queue.
This century has no place for me, the patron of avoidance. In the underground,
emergency lights slur to starseed in the thrall of speed. Paradise will come
like this: a slowing into stations then willing disembarkation. I knew it once
and will travel on in hope of lightening. From the central station, connections
to the anonymity of another country – Berlin and Malmö – with local stops
as far as Vanløse and Vestamager.
Matthew Landrum holds an MFA from Bennington College. His poems and translations have recently appeared in Nimrod Journal, Modern Poetry in Translation, and Salamander. He is poetry editor for Structo Magazine.