By Candice Mast

I drink my caramel latte and feel the heat from his arm bleeding into mine.
I watch the bouncy girl in the movie get her hair pulled violently.
My stomach is a fizzing acid burn
Remembering her pain as I walk with him from the theater out into
The shadows of the city.
On the dim street in a press of bodies, cook smoke clouds,
A teenager with an ad pinned to his shirt sells big-eye contacts
To other teenagers who want to look more Korean.
A girl sits at the bottom of the escalator, hunched into her knees,
A begging bowl cupped over her head
Still as a country night in the chaos around her.
The man in black looks normal
Then he bends over the garbage, poking, hooking bags
Takes a long pull from a cup of trashed ice.
On the train home, a man is wearing a beret and talking on a cell phone
As she slips into a seat behind him, head down,
At first I’m not even sure they are together and he doesn’t look at her at all.
With him. Not with him.
Scum and victim, vain and lost, I stick my labels on them all.
I tuck my lucky hand into his arm.
As we go toward the exit
I see one perfect petal on the platform, alone, glowing from inside.