On a crowded elevator between the 5th and 6th floors
My wife says to me,
“Why don’t you like crowds?”
And I want to explain to her
About marbles slamming together on the playground,
Steelies and cats’ eyes and shooters
And about the circle we drew
To contain them.
And I want to tell her
Of the strangling of tether balls
Around the shiny, slick poles,
Pushed tighter by the solid thuds
Of unseen hands.
And finally to describe the bell
To go back to class
And lining up by height
With me the shortest,
Feeling the weight of every other kid behind me
Pushing me forward.
But I can’t bring that violence to her,
So I breathe through my nose,
Push back against the elevator walls,
Stare at the floor numbers,
Cough three times away from the other travelers
And pretend I didn’t hear her.