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August 25 2010

over the bridge

I forget to look up until the train comes out of the tunnel into the light. It’s wonderful here. A man at one end of the train is sleeping in swimming goggles, his eyes pulled tight where the suction connects to his skin. At the other end are two girls, the younger swings on the armholds like gymnastic equipment, the older one cocks her hip and rolls her eyes.

Next to me, a man is marking in a library book with a dull pencil, and across from him, a woman catches my probing eye, then yawns and stares off into the distance.

By the door, a tall man holds a woman’s hand between his palms and murmurs in Russian. I can tell by the look in his eyes, he’s pleading for understanding. This goes on the whole way over the bridge, and eventually, as we ride back under the city, she smiles.

I haven’t been on the subway in a long time.


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March 15 2010

in the neighborhood

I’m moving apartments soon, and today the streets are full of stories I know. There is the man I thought was a spy. There is the woman I always think is someone else. There is the mother who yells at her sons in the sharp snaps of a language I don’t understand. There is my neighbor with the pain in his hip. There is the owner of a closed café. There is a man with whom I danced in a bar. There is the man whose life story I overheard. There are all the people whose life stories I overheard. There are all the people who gave them willingly to me.


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January 07 2010

on the subway


It was just like this. A girl on the last page of her book, murmuring the words aloud, I can read her lips only because I know it by heart: it eluded us then, but that’s no matter. Next to her, a woman with a tiny Hebrew bible is mouthing the words of her devotion as fast as an auctioneer. At the other end of the car, there’s a man with thin, unruly hair. He’s slumped over as though he were drunk, or sleeping, one shoulder lower than the other, listing, his chin collapsed to his chest. He’s staring at his open, empty palm in his lap, tapping it lightly with his index finger.

Tags: multiples

August 22 2009

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