midnight on the subway


tonight it’s a black man and woman

making love

with their necks

and whispers

on the dirty railway car

yesterday it was a Chinese couple

tomorrow

maybe interracial

or homosexual

but always

the couple is standing

around a greasy, gray pole

the intimate metal shining

on the fingers, the humerus, the elbow

their fluorescent-lit eyes dance

with tongue and lips

cheek and bone

the elderly in the car appear

disgusted

annoyed

the innocent

blush

possibly loathe

I

envy

wondering if anything will break

their necks

entangled like swans

wondering if anything will silence

their quiet mating calls—

hush the vague Ss, Ts, and Ds

of their whispers like children telling secrets

Do they drink

before

climbing aboard?

maybe if I slipped

some whisky into Lover’s coffee…

but he is allergic

and doesn’t drink coffee anyway

he’d rather kiss

and say nothing

in our home

never feel the paste of dim boxcar lights

never feel the grip and pull

of flesh

as the train rolls

in

and

out

of destination

my stop comes

before the lovers know

the car has ceased again

I know they ride beneath

the city

for hours

never asking

time

location

never knowing the frustrations

of making love in clean, quiet bedroooms

© Julie Bolitho. “midnight on the subway,” Poems. Albatross. University of Chester Press: 2010, pg. 23.

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© Julie Bolitho 2018