Commuter, 1993 by Kyle Potvin

I sip coffee with the desire of morning. The morning news is fresh and black on my fingers. The pressed edge of the suit coat belongs to the stranger beside me. Pressed against me like a shield, he bobs his head on my shoulder. Shouldering this weight, I shift my legs beneath my skirt, moving from him. Yet his legs, like tall buildings, still stretch against mine. Against me, this sleeping dark-suited man is like the others, sleeping, their foreheads smacking the window, glass that could crack from their startling snores, snores so powerful, I am startled when we enter the early hush of Harlem. In the tunnel, the train track splits the hush to life. A train flickers past. Black suit. Brown suit. Blue suit. His suit. Pressed against my red suit. That man against me—I shrug him off. I am the first to stand.


Kyle Potvin’s first poetry collection, Sound Travels on Water (Finishing Line Press), won the 2014 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. She was a past finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. Her poems have appeared in The New York Times, Measure, The Huffington Post, JAMA, Able Muse and others.