Another Fire on the Redline

Two people coughed,
at first politely. Pungent smoke
corkscrewed down from the ceiling,
consumed oxygen
on its way toward the front
of the subway car.
Feet shuffled. Murmurs spread.
There was no announcement;
no official word to let us know
whether to wait it out or break
through the glass doors.
How would we know where to run to
so far underground and so blindly
close to the third rail.

Written June 2008