Subway Woman

She looks into the subway car

like a criminal looks into their jail cell

with contempt, with bitterness,

with acceptance.

 

It’s 1AM, car a quarter full,

faint summer air conditioning filling

the air along with her grievances.

 

She resigns, lays back in her seat

after picking some lint out of her hair

she doesn’t know how she got here, either.

 

 

Why this city? Why that man

that made you so tired you didn’t care

to go back to the love you found

beneath the stairs, hand in hand,

balancing the acts of dependance and diplomacy.

 

Plastic bag full on the lap,

eyes closed now, keeping still–

maybe that will make everything less real:

 

“I belong in the subway, now.

This orange chair may backdrop

to a life of longing,

I’ll sit here and nap

until I reach my destination unknown

(probably 145th street).

 

Perm fixed upon me with slight pride

I thought maybe that would help free me

but I guess adding more layers, more chemicals,

more time and energy doesn’t make up

for the enthusiasm my story has stolen from me.

 

How fun it was to lay in the sun at high noon,

park bench, husband waiting. How full the moon

felt when I first read his lips, his eyes, his kiss.

 

The kids will understand;

they are older now.

 

I can sleep in peace.”

 

based on a woman I saw in the NYC subway 

 

July 31, 2016

 

Morning Commute

Take

your hand

off the door

and take a step

with me.

 

Flex

your eyebrow

while your side eye

grants me a grin–

did I say it

again?

 

“I like you,”

and all those messy thoughts aside,

“I know you,”

or at least I want to.

 

My steps feel lighter

now that you’re part of the story

rolling through my head–

or is this my stop at Penn?

 

Don’t want to miss my train again…

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January 28, 2016

on lunch break

how nice it is

to sit by the river and unwind,

blink by

blink.

 

you know your same-old view

in the city:

skyscraper tree tops

that leave you wanting for a chickadee

 

where can I find just one bird?

(the pigeons are beautiful, mind you.)

 

I yearn to hear a song;

the water gives it to me–

it gives it to us

as long as I keep my ears open

I can hear it all the way from the skyline.

 

remind me how love songs go, again?

does he start?

am I the minor chord?

 

the wind trickles in;

between my toes

the water hums.

 

my shoulders sigh

as I remember how easy it must have been

 

to let

doors open

before windows closed,

families eat meals together

after swimming through the day.

 

the world stills;

my eyes close;

and I tell my heart,

“It’s okay

to remain

open.”

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January 21, 2016