Poem written on the E train

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Two souls

sit across from me

and make light chatter

turning the pages of a Bible

as if I were a hearth

in their living room.

They collected cans

in the light rain:

her good windbreaker, his wide-brimmed hat.

Enter a girl in white sneakers.

She sits near me

and strokes a pink wire that blots

out the world.

I take out my pen

to record this moment,

maybe ruin it a little.

 

For a few stops we are carefree

as car keys in a country drive.

When They Ask About Your Summer

Tell them you ate three kinds of dark

Chocolate. Tell them your favorite contained

Sea salt and toffee and cost you $16 dollars

To snatch from the snack basket at the hotel.

Tell them how you let the squares melt on your tongue

While sitting next to a heavy set man breathing

Heavy on a train after 1a.m. while two sisters drank

Pepsi and made small talk so quiet and easy

You couldn’t begrudge them for keeping you

Awake. Tell them you took the subway at 2am

Then walked home alone at the skunk hour

And that you realized all the drunks 

Were more afraid of you and that the grinding wheels

Of your pink suitcase may as well have been tanks

Rolling through.  Tell them how you went to a wedding

Alone and that your whole family was there.

Tell them how the bride cried through the ceremony,

How she cried right through her silk gown

And that she washed the hall with her tears,

And tell them that she was the most honest bride

You have ever seen, ruining her makeup as sail boats

Lazed by in the harbor.  When they ask about your work,

How it’s going, tell them a person needs to lie

Around a lot in order to remain sane. Tell them this,

And then ask them a question or two that will slip

Through the worm hole in their gut and poke

A pinky through to see if the answer is true.

Train. Digital photo. 2014.

Train. Digital photo. 2014.