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The Worst Shooting on the New York City Subway—a Landay Poem - Marina Richie

Said the taxi driver from India

“Even hitting a pigeon would be terrible.”

The day after the subway horror

All gentleness as he swerved through traffic with finesse.

The man had carried gas mask and gun,

Disguised as a construction worker armed with hate

This nightmare. His plan to vent his rage

Shooting from the hip, he sprayed bullets at random.

Doors closed. Smoke. Locked in a moving car

“I’m pregnant,” a trapped woman pleaded for mercy

One turned to the full-bellied woman

as choking bleeding riders surged to pound the door

Helped her when a bullet struck his knee,

Doors opening, screaming, trampling, the terror.


So lucky that everyone survived,

They say he was a bad shot and his gun jammed too.

Too many guns. Too many hurting

Where is the luck when a troubled man gets his way?


Escapes into the city to merge

with the masses and I was there from Oregon

while others returned to the subway

I had the means to pay for the safe taxicab

“Trust no one,” I was warned. Dangerous.

Too many impoverished. Too many alone.

Maybe humanity would flower

if we took cues from the insect pollinators

Gathering sweet kindness on the wing

Bumblebees bearing gold pollen from bloom to bloom

Or the rescuer who risked his life,

the taxi driver who values even pigeons.


Marina Richie is a nature writer of creative nonfiction, blogs, poetry, and she turn to journalism too--lately writing opinion pieces on saving forests. Marina lives in Bend, Oregon, and is thrilled to be welcoming her first adult book into the world--Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher--coming to bookshelves this May and published by Oregon State University Press. All of her writing explores the intersections of nature and the human spirit and seeks to find kinship and heal brokenness.

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