An unintentional encounter

Day 24 – Write a poem about the feeling of a new friendship or bond

You hunch over a book in a packed train car,
the city’s lifeblood in business suits 
returning from a scrimmage, 
defeated by some faceless foe. 

You hold a book with no cover 
with both hands, fingers 
eagerly tickling the pages. I 
follow the contours of your face 

as the bitter tracks 
make the train whimper.

Your hair dances to the harmony 
of an invisible conductor, the staccato 
of steel creating a tableau of 
hazel brown ballerinas, enslaved to 
a calling with no voice.

I wonder if your dimples 
are frequent visitors dropping by 
for nightly tea, or elusive secrets
hidden in deep grottos, anemones 
decorating its walls with 
fuchsia picture frames.

Does a field of yellow poppy flowers 
lay behind your plain lips, or a lava 
lake, bubbling with rage? Will 
I find a forest of redwood trees 
or a desert of crimson sand, behind 
your hazel eyes?

The conductor announces the next stop. 
You look up to look at the green marquee, and 
find my brown eyes instead. 
You smile, taught to do so
only once to strangers and look away, 
but you rebel, and look back at me again.

Do you see a forgotten friend, have 
our eyes interlocked in a previous life, when 
we stood in the same freight car on 
our way to a quaint town with 
cobblestone roads lit by pewter gas lights?

Would we both have gotten off 
at the same stop, casually 
stroll along until one of us 
approaches the other, and 
spark the match that every bond 
requires, to form a lives-long pact?

Would we meander together and 
smell fresh baguettes, marvel at the sparks sprouting 
from the blacksmith’s anvil, enjoy 
the fragrance of apricots and fresh-picked lavender?

The feeling passes as the conductor bellows my stop. 
Elizabeth Station. 
You shuffle away 
from your faceless book and 
wait for the door to your stop. 

Our stop. 

I silence my insecurities and 
hold the door for you. 
You thank me, holding your gaze 
a second longer than anticipated. 
A second longer, a gift you don’t realize 
I embrace so willingly. 

But our casual stroll never 
manifested into an approach, as 
December wind sobers me to my burdens, 
an aging poodle with a poor bladder, 
a mother screaming through smiles.

“Thanks for holding the door for me!” 

you call out to me 
as our paths began to diverge. 
Were you begging me to answer 
something back other than, “It was my pleasure”? 

Maybe I’ll listen to fate 
in the next life, and 
dare to discover the 
secret in your eyes.

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