People without teeth
depress me.
Is that wrong, wrong-headed
as does the lady
in the subway cleaving
to her whoever-he-is-husband
boyfriend lover eyes almost closed
unseeing is she blind
is she foreign
I mean Scandinavian
really foreign
she is murmuring.
Is she asleep?
Is she his daughter?
I take snaps
of subway sleepers.
Is it wrong?
I don’t know.
Writers are
extreme blood-
Give me a situation
an image and I’ll
tease out the integument,
it’s my specialty,
or eating a dried out orange.
I’m not particular.
Shall I hate myself?
I won’t contradict myself,
it’s been done.
Shall I acquaint you with
an Orange Julius
The Deli King
the Hamburger Haven replete
with the just-folks
worker people of days done
when we stood when we ate,
proletarians all.
Some subways had woven seats,
baskets cradling
the leaner souls,
wearing bowler hats fedoras
cloches homburgs.
Getting older means fighting
I fear I am compost shrinking,
less mass more air
more particulate
I wasn’t always.
I need to think tall else
I fall disembroiled
disassembled loose limbed.
I fell two times in three weeks,
but not any time recently
felt disaffected with
my formerly familiar place
within space
the interstices,
disambiguated but not down
for the count
not even for a breather

–Ellen Pober Rittberg