“A Man on the Subway” by Anele Rubin

Anele Rubin


A man on the subway is wearing a t-shirt
with New York City Mental Institute
stenciled on the front.
For a moment I think it’s real.
Then I realize it’s supposed to be funny.
Ha, ha, asshole, I say.
He is smugly reading his paper.
I am so tired of being sad.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012


Anele Rubin: “I wrote this between Manhattan and Brooklyn sometime after the sudden strange death of my beautiful brilliant sister Danielle, whose mind had been hurt in some way that made her often unrecognizable as the caring, funny big sister I knew as a child. Her death occurred very soon after one of many short stays in a mental institution. I was quite numb when I wrote this, which at the time seemed like a merely mechanical transcription of a moment on the F train. I did not actually say ‘ha, ha, asshole’ out loud, but I felt that I did.”

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