A Rider’s Tale

The subway leaves much to be desired.
At rush hour I stand by the door—
Sometimes purposefully for an easier escape—
Other times I am simply forced to that undesirable spot.

Imagine a crate of packed fish:
Two faces hovering six inches from mine,
Total strangers pushed together in unnerving intimacy.
In any other circumstance, a complete overstep in boundary—
But not on the MTA!
No sirree, we get close and personal over here!

A jostled elbow, a step on my new boots, all small injuries—
That accumulate into a tortuous ride that sometimes
Inspires plots of revenge.
I fantasize a groping hand
So I may be given the excuse to scream:
“We’ve got a real life pervert right here, folks!”

Alas, no excuse is given, and I stand
Seething inwardly, outwardly calm.
Then a waft of sulfurous fumes drifts through the car.
Eyes narrowed, I ponder which of the people
Surrounding me issued the offending odor.
The woman who appears heavily sleeping?
The nervous man constantly checking his phone?

Or

Was it me.

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