The SubwayWill I ever become one of them?
She sits and knits without raising her head,
Can she sense by the length of her knitting
When her next stop will be?
Does five inches of knitting equal her stop?
He sleeps soundly like a horse,
His head upright, his hands on his lap.
Clenching a shopping bag.
Is there an alarm inside his bag?
She stares straight ahead
Like a robot in space.
Do I hear a silent ummmmm
Meditating her next stop?
How can they be so relaxed?
He sits, his back straight and stiff.
Ah, is this his first ride, too?
Naah, he's guarding his Amani shopping bag.
Among the likes of us.
A man jumps on board, and asks
â€œDoes this take you to J street?
What an adventurer, I envy him.
Three young men sing the gospel
Passing their hats around.
I sit there, my lst subway ride.
Odette, Setsâ caregiver sits across me
To accompany me to Brooklyn
With three transfers. I watch her like a hawk
but the crowd soon becomes a wall between us both.
I can't lose sight of her, I panic.
I must get to Brooklyn.
Ah, I see her shoes between pairs
And pairs of legs. My safety net,
Those tired worn out shoes.
Relax, observe, learn.
I pretend I'm a native New Yorker
Who's quite capable of knitting
Or snoring before my stop.
I listen to "next stop"
But they sound like voices
At airports, all muffled and dumb.
I keep my eyes on her shoes.
When they move, I move.
When they stand, I stand.
Shoes are walking.
She motions me toward the door.
I elbow my way like a New Yorker.
We rush like short distance runners
To the next train.
- Frances H. Kakugawa