Bay Area Rapid Transit

by Parthenia M. Hicks

You said
        I wish everyone in the world
        would get down on their knees

I didn’t want to hear
dismissed your fretted voice
its jagged edges
hooking where they could
you saw me look away
open my umbrella, hide

        and pray for just one minute

I never wanted to meet you,
indigent, alcoholic, or hungry
harmless perhaps but trouble
easier to give a dollar than to listen

You said
        this would change the world

I didn’t want you to sit
across the aisle see
my canvas bag, black

cat’s silhouette drawing you in,
reminding you of your mother’s
long fingers gracefully weaving
sewing one-of-a-kind bags
for women to carry through the world

You said
        Pray three times a day pray now

I didn’t want to see the sly
smiles of passenger relief
that poor woman stuck with him
too bad, but better her than me

        someone invisible is sitting beside you

I didn’t want to be bothered
angular body in its tired Tweed jacket
wiry hair sticking out like
silver beams of light
bluing crystal eyes
all wrong for your jetted skin

You said
        I’ll pray for you tonight

who knew that before we reached
San Leandro I would need you next
to me would be digging into a napkin
with leaky ballpoint pen trying
to get you

You asked
        would I give up my life
        for you tonight?

who knew that at your Lake Merritt exit
we would hold on tight

You said
        I will never see you again
        but let’s meet in heaven

someone invisible
sits beside me


Note: Bay Area Rapid Transit was originally published in The Montserrat Review, issue # 7.

Parthenia Hicks is a freelance writer and editor with a Masters of Divinity in Kriya Yoga. She is the recipient of two Pushcart nominations for her short stories, Fire and Miss Lady, the Villa Montalvo Poetry prize and most recently, the 2007 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Poetry Prize. She teaches © Dreaming into Writing workshops and other writing classes and retreats when and where she can—most recently, Rumi’s Call and Response, a workshop for writers and non-writers who want to explore their spirituality through writing in a safe environment. Parthenia served on the Healing Journeys Board of Directors from 1997 to 2003 and cherishes that experience as a gift that provided insight into health and healing and their connection to the richness of community, art and story.