Crowded metro car, photo by Alyce Wilson

On the Metro

By Lyn Lifshin

a woman with dark curly
hair is on p. 101 of Fear of
Flying. I'm flung back
to when my hair was
thick and curly as hers is,
all that seemed ahead
and all that was and I
couldn't tell. From a
distance, in my jean mini
skirt we could be twins
or sisters tho of course she's
more the age of the daughter
I don't have. I think of
the handwritten letters Erica
and I wrote a few brief
seasons still in the house
I'm rarely in, hers edged in
a red border, mine
probably dashed off with
typos. I think of the long drive
from Albany to a
book signing party in
the city with a man who
saved used tea bags
over and over and later
wrote things I wasn't so hot
to hear about me. But
this girl, with her parka and
jeans, clogs, like the ones
I have, perfect skin, this
girl with her chewed
finger nails, ragged skin
around them, could be
my fingers. The sun on
her hair, the blonde
highlights my mother
said simmered on my curls.
When she takes a drink, I can
almost taste her Starbuck
caramel or mocha. The
train tunnels down
leaving the light behind
and I fold my notebook, my
stop coming closer while
this other woman who
seems like me goes on,
smiling and dreaming
farther than I will