145th Street

curled into herself
the woman sat
crying across from me
on the downtown local

her straightened hair
was in a pony-tail
extending vertically
from the middle of her head

her sobs were muffled
by the subway's clacking
and maybe she thought
that gave her privacy

I could not meet her eyes
so unashamed I stared
and I saw that she clutched
a tiny snowsuit

had she left the child
alone and afraid
in a hospital room
smelling of Lysol?

or with an evil man
who would make her do
unmentionable things
and photograph them?

or perhaps the child was dead
and the mother gone mad
wandering from train to train
with an empty snowsuit...