New York Subway

by Hilda Morley

Hilda Morley

The beauty of people in the subway
that evening, Saturday, holding the door for whoever
was slower or
left behind
(even with
all that Saturday-night
& the high-school boys from Queens, boasting,
joking together
proudly in their expectations
& power, young frolicsome
& the three office-girls
each strangely beautiful, the Indian
with dark skin & the girl with her haircut
very short and fringed, like Joan
at the stake, the corners
of her mouth laughing
& the black girl delicate
as a doe, dark-brown in pale-brown clothes
& the tall woman in a long caftan, the other day,
serene & serious & the Puerto Rican
holding the door for more than 3 minutes for
the feeble, crippled, hunched little man who
could not raise his head,
whose hand I held, to
help him into the subway-car—
so we were
joined in helping him & someone,
seeing us, gives up his seat,
from us what we had learned from each other.

To Hold in My Hand: Selected Poems (1955-1983)

Last updated August 29, 2017