Sob Story

“I’m a sweetheart. I’m a mother.”

She is standing in the middle
of a semi-packed subway car at 9 o’clock at night.
We’re about to be booted off to board
shuttles to our final destinations for
the evening: Wellington, Malden, Oak Grove.

She, on the other hand, needs exactly seven
dollars and seventy-five cents
to catch the commuter rail to South Attleboro.

On past rides, it’s been Worcester she’s needed
the fare for. Or she still has to get to
South Attleboro, only she needs 8 dollars.

“I’m a sweetheart. I’m a mother.”

I want to tell her you can be both those things
and still you wind up on the subway
telling slight variations on the same story
to a car full of people who’ve heard it before.

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