I sway,
shoot my eyes
skyward, above
a sweaty throng packed
tight as salted fish.  

Another evening spent navigating
this pole or that, hands wrapped
around slick silver cool.  

The track thumps steady and
I am sturdy on legs spread
just so, and my mind lists –
avocado, almonds,
tortillas, toothpaste,
toilet paper, tampons –
until a curve throws
my balance.
I shift my hip,
shake it off,
return to the rhythm.  

Finally the smooth speaker voice tells
me it’s time
to get off:  

Thank you for riding
Chicago Transit. Next stop,
Ravenswood. Watch your step.  

I slip through sliding doors,
lose myself in the surging crowd,
begin the long walk home.