The Air Between Us

“I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse…”

And the story of Tania’s cunt

Four men came on the train,

Two talking about “God is good”

and the other pair flung their weight into the corner seats,

across the way from each other.

The others were whispering

“God is good” and

“That he is” -they sat, spread legs touching. Hushed devotional phrases dripped onto their shiny jackets from their eyes and tongues.

A preacher was on the phone screen, volume up.

The cornered joked, insulted. Some shadow followed them from the platform to the corner of the train car.

The god-fearing ones, one extracted himself from prayer, took four steps to the end of the car, stooped over his fellow man, the drips and drops a mist filling the alcove carved out by their bodies.

A young woman cringed, hid in her jacket, looked down at the speckled linoleum underfoot.

“A man took an ax to me,”

he said

“My sister cut off this finger

and I have 6 bullet holes in my back. 9 months in prison. 7 years in prison.”

Breathless, hanging over the handrail, exhaling a mist and magnetized by perceived salvation, he continued

“But I love you man, you’re my brother, and I’m sorry.”

In a breath, “God is good.”

They parted. The weight of words

A history settled

And the train doors opened to release the air between us all

Those who overheard

Those who ignored

The oblivious and preoccupied among us

All a breath away from being less than strangers.

– July 1, 2019

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