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The subway

TThe man follows his wife onto the crowded car. The stronger one, or perhaps the better versed, She sits him like a child on one side And then takes a seat herself across the aisle. He clutches the handles of his shopping bag, A gesture of dependency, And never takes his eyes off her. She reassures him in Vietnamese. Watching them, nearby passengers rouse. Would the couple like to sit together? One offers up a seat, Another stares till she responds. The woman laughs and shakes her head. For the moment she is welcome. She clasps her hands around her knees And seems at home. Many pairs of eyes attend her. They are dark, deepset and bright. Many hands, eager to help her, Relax, as if under decree of a single Benevolent guard of charity.

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