I’m sitting on the train home from work,
across from a man, his yellowing
beard flecked with tobacco stains
that match the ones on his hands
and face. He’s coated in a layer of
His hands rest on the handle of
a kelly green oxygen tank as if
it where a knotted wooden
walking stick. Vibrant tattoos,
spayed across his old skin
like graffiti on the side of an
Four right angles hooked together
like a barrel of monkeys, smaller
ones wrap in a chain
from his wrist to his elbow
like Christmas lights wrap a tree.
The points look like legs jutting out
or barbed wire.
What would he think
if he knew that a black man
just gave up that seat?