Subway Car

                                SUBWAY CAR

What to look at                                                         except the kid

who smiles                                     from the ads above us,

tilts his head to swing                                 in panel after panel                                    

the hair from his forehead.                 There’s something he wants us to know

about the joys of haircare.                                      We focus

on spots of air.     Still, our gazes                          wandering, meet.

                                                                             An accident

of the eyes, twigs shifting                           in the wind

made to touch                                  briefly, or a flame 

that darts so quickly away

all one ever sees                                         is the after-image of fire.

Pain, glimpsed.                                                            Joy.

We sit here, so close—                                   it means nothing.                    

We touch:                                          these plastic seats arranged us.                                

Small hollows, shallow                                   egg carton.                                               

What to do when one of us                                    cracks except glance                                                     

at the map, avoid

our own eyes in the glass                                                how they stare back

with blank intensity.