Andrena Zawinski – Riding the BART to Berkeley

Andrena Zawinski

Riding the BART to Berkeley

Someone in the summer packed train station reeks of salami,
follows me seat to seat. The retro-hip girl squeezes in next to me,
red velvet street skirt brushing my leg with impatient movement,
tissuing rhinestone cat eyes, tugging at patent boots, and sniffing.
The hijo in front of me, jammed up against the door, clothes lined
in mangle pressed seams, Renee tattooed from nape to throat, steps
in close to me. The old woman behind, her breath at my neck,
smells the rim of a dimestore perfume lid, cups her pepper-pored
nose, then eyes a rosy-cheeked girl across the aisle who is
grinning over a vampire novel in one hand, purple wildflowers
wrapped in yesterday’s Chronicle in the other. I fidget with my
little display, bags of dark chocolates and cherries on my lap,
stomach grumbling with the train rolling in. Snapshot lives caught
stop-to-stop, blurs across hazy portal glass in bad light, we slip out
of the full belly station onto the ordinary street, checking watches
at our sleeves, sniffing at wrists, heading out toward fancied
afternoons ahead, a little off-schedule with the train moving on.

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