She looks into the subway car
like a criminal looks into their jail cell
with contempt, with bitterness,
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