Janel Kolby submitted this poem for my Story Chairs project, very short fiction, non-fiction, poems and songs for recording. I am still actively looking for contributions.
The tapping of my foot fought the rhythm of the train.
I wasn’t in the mood to be lulled to sleep.
My boyfriend and I had just gotten in a fight, and I left.
I didn’t know where I was going, I had nowhere to go.
My anger was deafening.
And then the doors opened.
A shiny man came inside.
His suit was shiny shark skin, and his shoes were shiny polished.
He reeked of smoke and gin.
But he was a man.
His nail-bitten hands clasped the pole in front of me.
His tie had once been neat.
The train started up with a metallic squeak.
The man lurched, hanging on tight,
and hungrily tore at a bagel,
powdering crumbs onto his feet.
With his last, hard swallow,
he looked frantically about,
and wiped away cold sweat.
The lights flickered, and I caught my breath.
The train squealed around a corner,
and we held against its force.
I felt him lean against my knee,
to steady against my form.
He was warm, he was strong.
Minutes, no, seconds.
We breathed as one.
The doors re-opened,
and he was gone.