You stand before the subway rails, fighting urges to flee among strangers,
Contemplating what it really means to be free among strangers.
An elderly woman in a worn t-shirt and jean shorts sitting in a library chair
Expands or escapes her thoughts of the end as she reads among strangers.
A child cries over a stuffed toy his mother refuses to let him buy;
He turns red and flails, snot dripping, a banshee among strangers.
A group of girls in their twenties wear bodycon dresses with high heels;
Struggling yet giggling in bar bathrooms, they pee among strangers.
I drive an hour with a grocery store stop in the middle to waste time;
In the house I grew up in, and barely return to, I eat among strangers.
A young girl on a school bus quickly learns that survival of the fittest means
Those who mime feelings, who tailor their responses, succeed among strangers.
Stuck inside, we play games and sew masks and sometimes get takeout;
At night we dream of amusement parks and screams among strangers.
He glimpses a man gliding over the sidewalk, pictures him down on one
knee, tearful and smiling, then comes back to his reality among strangers.
The poet hides thoughts she’s afraid those who know her, or of her, will judge.
She finds there is always an open-armed friend — sympathy — among strangers.
Rebecca Kelley is a fourth-year English major with a minor in Creative Writing. RK905058@wcupa.edu