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Subway at Dawn

By Avanti Tulpule

  1. Premonition
    By Sherry Luo

           There’s a city map from 1993 above the stiff-backed bright-eyed benches, and a woman in blue Sharpie is undressing on highway 36.

           Look, another woman winks back from a dented cigarette lighter gripped between world-weary fingers who caress her like a mistress, who have forgotten their wife’s favorite perfume.
The smell of peonies. Somber gray brickwork, or stacks of discarded dentures
molded with age.

           Look, another woman is selling eye cream or maybe health insurance, and somebody has given her a double chin. Unnatural, like the day-glo sunlight coating the tracks with faint green grease.

           The crush of people with newspapers wedged in the curve of their elbows, the pocketbooks held to the chest with both hands, children with burned-red skin and cherry-red lollipops leashed to parents popping caffeine pills, two teenagers pretending their faces aren’t mottled with bruises like old peaches, pretending their makeup isn’t shoplifted and that they’re not running away,
earnest 2010-hit songs and the odd violin, the squelch of a high heel that’s stepped in tobacco juice.

           You fit here neatly, another oblong fish in a swell of cacophony, pretending to read newspaper headlines and drawing double chins on women selling self-help books. You’ll see the teenagers one day, either bedraggled and yellow-edged, curled into each other on a nameless street corner (you’ll think about dropping a dollar into their upturned cup, and press a quarter into their open palm instead), or freshly-laundered and asking for your order at an overpriced restaurant.

           You won't remember them.