I Dream on a Crowded Subway Train with My Eyes Open But My Body Swaying

by Chen Chen

Chen Chen

I dream of how I was running late & had to sprint
at least five June-hot city blocks
in order to meet you. I dream of how we walked
(me a bit breathless & sweaty) into a little café together
& right away got so caught up in talking
I didn’t even think to order a drink
till much later you reminded me, Did you want to get
something to drink?
& I felt so grateful to you,
that you would cease being so interesting for a moment
& give me the chance to get up
because I was indeed very thirsty.

It was past closing time
when we left the café & wandered into the park—Yes,
I said, Let’s sit here
& we sat there, a bench, a place on this earth
for maybe five people at most
though everyone knows it’s really just
for two people at a time, that’s why benches were made
& when they’re not serving their purpose
they are rained upon & look more miserable
than a child who has suddenly dropped her ice cream
on the pavement. But how un-miserably
we kissed, how the lamplight
made everything the most
anti-despondent green. The trees, the grass,
the benches—our bench—all
greenly awake, as we kissed
& kissed. I’m dreaming,

yes, on the train heading home,
that our kiss, the last before we parted, has yet to end,
not entirely—that I’m carrying
the sweet ghost of that kiss on my lips, while on
your train, you carry it, too.
Let’s say it takes all night
for us to get home, the train having to make
every stop, & everyone forgetting to step off
the first,
even second times,
while we’re still kissing that kiss, that green,
& June

Last updated May 16, 2023