My Student OPUS Card Will Put My Therapist Out of Business

Poem by Stella Mazurek. Graphic Eva Wilson


The metro’s hot breath,

suffocating, surrounding,

at each stop 

dead air through hair,

is soothing 

stuff the city down my throat 

and console me


the ride is way too long when you’re in a hurry and much too short when it needs to be there for you;

cradling your neck in a nap, 

giving your legs their first sit of the day, 

letting a mind zone away


the white noise of whistling tracks 

pressurised gasps of rail gaps 

are comforting


I must be saving money because my student OPUS card costs half as much as a therapy session. 

I want to stay below ground, let people mill around me and sound the alarm of reassurance.


the streets above demand commitment 

to be there, is to be aware,

productive, conscious, with direction


I wanted six more stops tonight.


I’m not ready to open my front door yet.

I swear there was another set of escalators to get out of this station. 

one day, 

I’ll ride to the end of the line, 

and pay no mind to seeing shame 

or wasted time 

in simple pleasures 

This article originally appeared in The Money Issue, published November 2, 2021.