on the subway

A thin boy with bony cheeks, reading a small paperback. He stares at the page and then smiles, contented, like he’s seen the face of an old friend there. He tips the book and I can see that it’s filled with a list of names and tabulated numbers. Where some of the numbers would be are question marks. At the top it says, “ELEMENTARY PARTICLES.” After a while he flips ahead and lights on another page, “THE RICHTER EARTHQUAKE SCALE.” He has friends there too.

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