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  • Nassau Weekly


February, 2019

This poem was published in Nassau Weekly.

New York

Taking the metro alone for the first

time, I entered at 59th street

shortly after four’o’clock,

and hopped on “the one”.

My shoes clicked as I walked into the car,

desperately trying to appear as if I knew what I was doing.

I cast my eyes towards the floor

to avoid meeting those of a few middle-aged men.

A lady assessed me before silently scooting down to

create space. I sat, spending the next eight

stops obsessively glancing between the curled pages

of my cherished paperback Lolita and the map on my phone.

I got off at 116th street and spent hours

Among eclectic friends

One of them – an attractive guy – called this city

"the city where you fall in love four times a day".

I got back on the train at 116th street

around eight’o’clock and

On the metro back to my apartment,

I promptly fell in love twice:

With the man four seats to my right,

Virtually checking his bank account.

With ample (but clean) scruff and a

"Columbia Business School" backpack.

With the almost middle-aged gentleman across from me

– our eyes meeting briefly – wearing

red snake-patterned socks under worn

brown dress shoes with designs on the toes.

The first watched himself in the

window and got off on 76th street.

The second looked at me then smiled down

at his phone, the screen lighting up two phenomenally

deep dimples. He proceeded to pull out a book as I

craned my neck to catch a glimpse of the title.

Taking out his bookmark, he placed it about

a fourth of the book from the back, exactly how I do

when I manage to refrain from dog earring my pages.

I grew fond of this man across from me;

his pointed, freckled nose, those damn dimples,

that he dare read a book with print that small.

He got off on 59th.

As did I.

I thought about following him

for a bit, but four things deterred me:

1) That he moved at a particularly fast pace

2) That it is not socially acceptable to follow people

3) That I am a 5'4", 18-year-old girl alone in the city

4) That the exit he just passed is the only one from which I know the way home

So I silently bade my love goodbye and ascended back

into the world of ignored crosswalks and stern faces.

As my shoes clicked up the stairs, another man gazed at me

with that oh-so-familiar doey-eyed expression. And it hit me:

We fall in love with the

strangers we pass

because they are whoever

we want them to be.

For example, my two loves on the metro:

Mr. Columbia Business School was smart, sophisticated, sensible.

That is until his eyes met his own for far too

long in the window and he became conceited in mine.

But the second – he had hopped up, the monotone announcement

Of “59th and Columbus Circle” crossing our paths.

The stars painted on the underground walls aligned for us to be in the same place at the same time.

He was gentle, intelligent, thoughtful.

Then he was gone.

And to the men that watch me fleetingly, who knows?

Maybe I am pursed lips and a waist and wide eyes.

Maybe I am smart.

Maybe I am not.

Maybe I am one of their four.

Maybe they are one of mine.

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