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.