it is stuffy and close and stale
the smell of people’s days, hanging around them like discarded spiderwebs
you thought you brushed them off
but they’re still clinging, trailing to your sleeve.
newspapers, rubber, cigarette smoke, sandwich bread, sweat.
what does your day smell like?
modesty is impractical and impossible
in the crush of bodies
back and forth, stop.
don’t try to hold upright.
just close your eyes and sway
let your arm brush the woman next to you
don’t flinch as a man bumps into you
close your eyes.
picture somewhere else, picture oxygen.
when you open your eyes
everyone else will have closed theirs.
- 6:30 p.m. commute, DC metro