the stations always smelled like stale cigarette smoke
and you could see the used butts on the concrete floor
grime stuck in the cracks of the yellow or white plastic tiles that
warned you to not fall down to the tracks

there were pidgeons.
all the stations had them
flocks of them
and they’d peck at forgotten bits of food
or those cigarette butts
and all the commuters would just ignore them.

but I was seven and I was bored–
a dangerous combination–,
so of course I saw them and thought,
how can I bother these birds for my entertainment?
I would run towards them, full speed, then come to a quick stop
and I’d watch as the birds scattered and flew away
and reconvened a dozen or so meters away
they thought they were safe
but I’d rush them again
and giggle as they were startled and flapped away

I’d do this over and over, until our train came and we boarded it.
I don’t remember what I’d do on the trains, but
I was probably still thinking about chasing pidgeons.