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Maryann Hazen Stearns - USA


Fifth & Palm

"Move over a seat or two"
she whispers, "feel the heat
on the back of your neck?"
We rock on the red trolley to the Center.

     I see an old woman who turns on
     the wrong light. I see a young woman
     who flips her off. The gray woman
     doesn't see the flipper-offer.
     Neither sees me.

"Warmth is on my legs, feel it?"
Hand cups knee, like honey in tea
and the green-eyed girl
lets it stay. "We'll be there soon,"

     There is a boy with a post
     in his tongue and a tiger
     on his back. He jingles change
     in his pants pocket and keeps
     his hand in there, moving.
 
"just over the next rise." In her eyes
there's a welcome and the sun
lets me in; here we begin
on the road to the Center.

     I meet the gaze of a man
     who meets my gaze. He has
     3 and 1/2 fingers on one hand.
     I see him before he sees me.
     "Next stop, corner of 5th and Palm!"
     the driver laughs and calls out,
     "5th and Palm - next stop!"

Claire and I stay in our seats,
we wait for the stop at the Center. 


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