Rush hour


Rush Hour

by Elaine Terranova

Odd, the baby’s scabbed face peeking over
the woman’s shoulder. The little girl
at her side with her arm in a cast,
wearin a plain taffeta party dress.

The little girl has not once moved
to touch her or to be touched.
Even on the train, she never turns ans says,
‘Mommy.’ Sunlight bobs over her blond head
inclining toward the window. The baby
is excited now. ‘Loo, loo, loo, loo,’
he calls, a wet cresendo. ‘He’s pulling
my hair,’ the little girl at last cries out.

A kind man comes up the aisle to see
the baby. He stares at those rosettes of blood
and wants to know what’s wrong with him.
The woman says a dog bit him. ‘It must have been
a big dog, then.’ ‘Oh, no. A neighbor’s little dog.’
The man say’s, ‘I hope they put that dog to sleep.’
The woman is nearly pleading. ‘It was an accident. He didn’t
mean to do it.’ The conductor, taking tickets,

ask the little girl how she broke her arm.
But the child looks out to the big, shaded houses.
The woman says, ‘She doesn’t like to talk
about that.’ No one has see what is behind
her own dark glasses. She pulls the children to her.
Maybe she is thinking of the arm raised over them,
Its motion would begin like a blessing


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