The Elevator Operator

AMIT MAJMUDAR

For my father — Atlanta, 1949

Solitudes crowded past at every floor
And filled the lift beginning at the back.
The buttons drew their brightness from his black
Fingers. He pulled across the cage and door.

Some stared. Most didn’t, letting their eyes drift
Down to the open novel of their thoughts.
He filled his corner like a plant in a pot.
No small talk, in a fourteen hour shift:

My dad, the most loquacious man I know,
Recited poetry the bus ride home,
Where at his touch we too began to glow.

You boys be pilots, he said, you go fly,
Dreaming us altitudes he’d never known
In his forever interrupted rise.


Amit Majmudar’s first collection of poetry is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press in 2009. He is a Diagnostic Radiologist specializing in Nuclear Medicine in Columbus, Ohio.

First published in Measure, Volume 4, Issue 1 (2009)