Shoved against each other near the back
exit of the crowded bus, heater shot,
our coats touching, looking at her
I was able to put aside the cold.
An assault of sirens, flashing lights,
the jam, our temporary standstill. We crept
jerkily to the next stop, jostled us so
our faces almost touched. A wave of space
traveled down the aisle as people got off.
We moved apart, a slender gap of air
between us. Strands of her black hair
stayed stuck to my shoulder, a tether
I welcomed. She eyed an empty seat
but it was snatched up by a mother
and baby. A pack of teenagers hurried
on board, slapping us together closer
than before, our arms thrust forward,
a virtual hug. Another stop, and the back
door, flapping on its hinges, refused
to close. Cold air rushed in.
Outside, a deli, space at the counter.
“Coffee?” I whispered, her ear a breath
away from my mouth. “Soup,” she countered,
not skipping a beat. We edged out, expectant.