I️ walk to my transfer on the subway.
In front of me are two girls, sparkling and done up and beautiful.
I️ follow in my bean boots and with my backpack, layers of sweater under my coat.
For a long time I️ felt I️ had to compete with you,
That my version of beautiful,
Just doesn’t measure up.
I️t is enough tonight to be me, to have tangles in my hair and my favorite purple lipstick, reminding myself who I️ am.
There is no reason not to believe it.
A little girl put her hand over mine on the subway pole today
She dances on the seat and her mother said, “she’s a troublemaker”
She points to me, her eyes look into mine.
I remember my mother says to raise hell,
When it’s right
To never dull yourself for others
To let them learn to love the light in you
The little girl’s hand holds tight to me and she dances on a subway bench as if she has wings,
I want to tell her,
You will change this world someday.
I walk through the turnstile,
In front of me an MTA attendant is on the phone.
He laughs a big belly laugh; deep and true and I can’t hear it but I can feel it deep in me
I know I am covered in snow and he is a man at work,
But for a moment the world laughs for me,
In the chaos.
The sun sets over Long Island City.
The subway doors open and the dusky early twilight moves in.
Rarely do I take an elevated line,
Watch the thousand lives of this city expand into starlight beneath my feet.
It will be dark when I come out onto Classon Avenue,
One more walk until I cross the familiar corners that lead home.
The train sweeps under the tallest buildings.
I am one of a million souls on this night,