Scenes From A Metro

The smell of the market
hangs in the air.
It hitched a ride
two stops back.
Fresh fish and the smell of dusty streets
on a warm summers day underground.

Packed in tight,
it’s hard to avoid the contact
which brings elbow to elbow,
breath to breath.
Knee against thigh,
with a gentle rub.
Smells rise in the heat
and stolen touches
keep eyes down.
The other’s gaze
is the thing to avoid.

Looking up,
an immaculate woman
in a powder blue suit,
steps on-board, and squeezes into place.
Nervously.
A quick glance but no more.
Then her eyes fix to the floor,
to stare at wooden slats
with mock fascination.
Intimacy in a public place
brings on avoidance
as self preservation.

But two stops on
as the smell of fish still hangs,
the scar on her cheek
becomes visible.
A reminder perhaps,
of some colder,
darker night underground.

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