Safety in Numbers

Day 4
Poem 4

I’m not really happy with this one, but at least it’s something. No prompt, just inspired by my commute home yesterday (when I wrote my elegy).

Safety in Numbers

She sits beside me on the train with her backpack
and headscarf and I’m no believer
in talking to strangers but I think of asking
if she’s okay. I’m not.
I’ve been reading too much today, surveillance
and filibusters, heavy.

She sits beside me and opens a notebook
that looks like mine,
robin’s egg with gold trim – hers a flower, mine
a quill. We write
side by side. I don’t cheat off her paper.
I don’t cover mine

like I always do. She can look if she chooses,
judge me for writing my injustice
when I don’t know if I’d dare speak up for her.
For now, I hope this is enough,
the buddy system, no room for any man to slip
between us girls.

When my stop comes she feels my anticipation
and we bow to each other
all feminine excuse mes and thank yous, apologies
for inhabiting space.
I don’t tell her that I hope she gets home safe
with a better poem than mine.


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