on the subway

An early train, everyone quiet. There was a tall fat man with a cheap cane, worried eyes. A young man leaned against the pole, trying to suppress the inward, private smile that kept overtaking his face. An older woman with veiny hands noticed a small stain on her pink pants, touched it as though that might give her new information, then moved her purse to conceal it. She read over my shoulder for a while, and then her head dropped down into sleep. The smiler got off at 14th St, the fat man at 34th. The dozing woman kept dozing all the way up the line.

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