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Apr 2018
(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 30, 2018)

It was my early twenties and she was in our poetry class,
a girl taking the same train as I was
one late night from Manhattan
to the town of our school.
She wrote beautiful poems,
long lines without punctuation;
but mostly she missed class  
because she was an actress
and the rumor was
she was working on a Spike Lee movie.

The train car was mostly empty and lit with a bad yellow light.
Train people would read or eat
or I remember liking  to look out the windows
into the apartments of Harlem
because I longed to know how other people lived.
Soon enough, the lights would dim with the darkness
of the boroughs and then the suburbs.

She was sitting up to the left and she recognized me,
smiled and said hello. I was startled a bit
out of my reclusion and we had a small,
friendly conversation about our class
with Tom Lux and what a character he was.
We were like strangers or almost-strangers on a train,
connecting with the warm light of fireflies.
She would go on to star as one of a gang of girls
in a long-running TV series, but I can see her
just as she was that night, a girl traveling
into a future so amazingly ahead of her.

We turned back to our own private rides
and the cars returned to the quiet,
except for the shuffling sounds of all the tracks
we crossed. I sat in the melancholy yellow light
and caught a reflection of my own face
in the mirror of an evening window—
I, too, a ******* a train.
These poems for NaPoWriMo were inspired by a poem I did years ago for my friend Michele after hearing she passed away, 30 poems for inspiring women connected to me. The title now says "33 Women" because the poem to Michele poem had already been written as well as two prologues I posted March 31.
Mary McCray
Written by
Mary McCray
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