There’s a sadness to our being,
Lola thinks, now swaying to the
Movement of the train, studying
People nearby, their faces in the
Morning light, their gestures,
Their inner thoughts unknowable,
Carrying their grief, their broken
Dreams, their unfulfilled appetites.
She senses the muscles in her bottom
Tense and untense as the train sways,
Her thighs stiffening to give balance,
Her hands folded on her handbag,
Ladylike, as Mother taught, some
Time ago, among other more important
Things, how to behave, how not to behave,
What to say in public and what not.
The train stops at a station, people
Get off and some get on, different
Faces to study, others lost, possibly
To sight for life, passing ships in a dull
Night, gone now never to be known
By her, never to be dreamed of or missed
Or grieved over some future death.
The train moves on, she sways again,
Her body moving to the motion as others
Do, and watching them, the way they sway,
The dying embers in their eyes, their words
Not said, the thoughts coming and going
Inside each head, sadness or some private
Joy, not shared, least not yet, not with her.
Sit still and be quiet, Mother would say,
Children ought (she always said ought) to
Be observed not heard, and as she sways
Now, thinking of her mother and her mother’s
Words and ways, she feels she wants to shout
And jump about, to flout her mother’s rules and
Words and sayings and laws, but she just sits and
Stares, silently, thinks rebellion, but never dares.