Sabra Embury

There's a couple sitting tight and still on this train.
Their eyes are wide at their feet. They seem to be petrified.

There's a loud swoosh and a man he enters fast.
He's wearing a dozen shirts of various texture and sully.
His khakis are shredded. Laces untied. Sunday paper under his arm.
“Look at this shit,” he says. “All over the fucking floor.”
He's swaggering and reeks of sour booze and warm maple syrup.

"I just want ya'll to know I didn't do this," he says.
He lays the newspaper down on the pile of stink.
Raspberry marmalade is glistening in chunks looking slick.

"I'm just being a humanitarian is all, it wasn't me," he says, smiling.
Then he sits his wiry body in an empty seat beside me.
He seems confident. He's obviously pleased with himself.

“Hey, girl,” he says, “You like that champagne?"
His thigh nudges my thigh. I flinch and scoot to the side.
"Wearin' shoes like that on Sunday? I tell you what."

I rummage my bag past business cards and a tube of red lipstick.
I scrape a cellophane wrapped peppermint. Some change.
I offer it to the man who smells like hell. The train smells like hell.
And I smell like smoke and some ancient dipshit's cologne.
I focus on a tagged and mutilated Kindle ad above a window.

I pray for an explosion. A slingshot launch into a tornado.
I can feel my pulse in my throat. I swallow hard and dry.
I haven't brushed my teeth and my feet are killing me.

A warm breath hits my ear. I feel fingers scrape my palm.
The trains slows. People stand, quietly averting their eyes.
The man stands. The train is stopped. He swaggers to a pole.

"First someone throws up on my train and now I have bad breath," he says,
"but I hope all of you have a good day anyway." And he's gone.

In my hand sits a crumpled five. And thirty-six cents in change.
It's mostly nickels. Warm and silver under a canopy of empty cellophane.

Sabra Embury writes for Brooklyn's L Magazine. Her work has appeared in the Believer, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Fanzine, As It Ought To Be, the Rumpus and NANO Fiction. She lives in Brooklyn with her son, Felix.

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