This is a poem I mentally started when I was in Los Angeles for AWP.
I spot him as I get on the subway,
All in black, with a black hat.
He sits hunched over, as if sleeping.
He doesn’t look asleep; he looks threatening.
He’s dressed like a fighter, or a cowboy.
I nervously take a seat behind him.
(Don’t be silly. There’s no reason to avoid him.)
He is so still. I talk to my friend.
So still. I look more closely.
Soft, brown, vulnerable skin peeks out
Between his hat and his shirt.
Just a ribbon of chocolate.
Gray, soft wisps of hair escape from his hat too.
His neck is gentle,
His clothing hard.
He is old. He’s alone.
I think about touching the skin on his neck.
I leave the train, and he stays