East meets west…

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New York Subway

by Hilda Morley

The beauty of people in the subway


that evening, Saturday, holding the door for whoever


was slower or

left behind
(even with


all that Saturday-night


excitement)
& the high-school boys from Queens, boasting,


joking together


proudly in their expectations

& power, young frolicsome

bulls,


& the three office-girls


each strangely beautiful, the Indian

with dark skin & the girl with her haircut


very short and fringed, like Joan

at the stake, the corners

of her mouth laughing


& the black girl delicate

as a doe, dark-brown in pale-brown clothes

& the tall woman in a long caftan, the other day,

serene & serious & the Puerto Rican


holding the door for more than 3 minutes for

the feeble, crippled, hunched little man who


could not raise his head,


whose hand I held, to


help him into the subway-car—

so we were

joined in helping him & someone,

seeing us, gives up his seat,
learning


from us what we had learned from each other.

Hilda Morley, “New York Subway” from To Hold My Hand: Selected Poems 1955-1983. © 1983 Hilda Morley published by The Sheep Meadow Press.

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