In each car's vestibules
Rods with three handles
Like egg-beater blades
Rise from floor to ceiling
To be quickly utilized;
Entering a crowded Métro train,
You hold on
Or may stumble and fall.
When a person with cheeks
Rosy as a Renoir or slightly
Open mouth like a Fragonard appears,
I try, adjusting my hips and shoulders
Against lurches, to mimic Parisians
Who never directly look long at another.
Yet young French men and women
Traveling together are apt
When erect on the car
To softly converse, peering deeply
Into each other's eyes. Occasionally
Some of them almost perceptibly kiss –
As though the jolting of the train
Forced them to each other's arms.
Torso against torso, each finds
I think of that fish,
The kissing gourami.
I yearn to do it myself.
I am angry, being partnerless,
Until in the vicinity I see a single matron
And an older gentleman watching,
By the disapproving set of whose lips
I know I am not alone.