by Kamilah Aisha Moon
All afternoon I pleased myself.
To hell with work, I needed to know
that I still work, pleasure
still possible. My body able to say
yes after trauma, sigh into itself
without deep revolt, passion
without reprisal. Took matters
into my own smooth, hungry hands.
Praise God I have some control;
the saving grace of a room
in a rented apartment,
the shield of a plywood door
closed to calloused eyes.
The old woman did not have that same grace
tonight, subway car bench
turned bed. Our commuter eyes became
bays that her robust wave of urine
rushed toward, cascading across the long seat—
a putrid falls that doused bags and feet
not fast enough to move in time.
We scrambled as if it was acid that would scald
forever; awed and aghast, anxious laughter
and the rueful shaking of heads as if we knew
something about being human
that she didn't.
What could she do but slump
into damp, uneasy slumber?
Everyone rattling along, jerking
with each start and stop—
the involuntary, inevitable tributaries
splitting off to chase
each of us down.
Last updated December 12, 2022