Elisabeth Murawski is the author of Zorba’s Daughter, which received the May Swenson Poetry Award, Moon and Mercury, and two chapbooks. Publications include The Yale Review, FIELD, The Literary Review, et al. She was a Hawthornden Fellow in 2008. Currently, she resides in Alexandria, VA.
He’s with a much younger woman
on the Yellow Line train.
I’m sitting right behind him,
his graying buzz cut, a white
athletic sweat band hugging his head.
It’s the Lou Rawls ache in his voice
that floors. I quit reading my book,
the poem about changing the names
of paint colors: “Nerves”
for the frost of stars. Imagine
waking up to those vocal chords!
I wonder if he talks, a bee
making honey, cruising the cape,
the hip of his Lady Love. When
they exit at L’Enfant Plaza,
I get a better look. He’s stocky,
paunchy, moves as if, dancing,
he’d float like balsa wood.
She takes his arm. They disappear
into the swarm of tourists. That voice.
The caramel skin. I think of Len
who called me precious, charmed away
my resistance. It’s been years
since Manhattan, the lumpy sofa bed.
What will the girlfriend remember–
a pet name like mine, the first time,
Sundays on the Yellow Line? Him
asking a stranger to take their picture
beside the cherry trees in blossom
at the Tidal Basin?