That time on the train great laws
rumbled into view. A mother
with a child wailing, exhausted,
grabs her by the hand and goes between
cars. Twice the heavy door opens
and closes to a no man’s zone, the welt
on her face more startling than the roar
of blackness speeding by in the tube.
Some man addresses the mother,
at first softly: “M’am, can I help,
have a word with you…” She does not
know his language. He gestures over her,
their voices rising above the mechanical
rattle, and then the mother stands up,
toe to toe. Something urges me to
intervene. Between them I stand,
three heads and a flurry of hands,
one pointing, one open, one fisted.
They tell me to stay out of it.
I sit down, lost. The girl has been
looking out a window, none of us there,
after the tunnel, clouds against a blue.
Anthony DiMatteo’s poems, essays, and reviews regularly appear in literary and scholarly journals. Recent work has been featured inCollege Literature, The Cortland Review, Renaissance Quarterly, Smartish Pace, Tar River Poetry, and Waccamaw. His poem “Furious Journey” is from his new book Beautiful Problems: Poems available from David Robert Books. He defends the mysteries of literature and art at the New York Institute of Technology where he is a professor of English.