Fall 1992 • Vol. XIV No. 4 Fiction |

My Body to You

Above me, a boy is trying to guess my sex. He hangs from a metal bar by his long arms, his body suspended at a slant over mine. As the train jolts into motion, my head almost bumps his crotch. Maybe my new and bristling crew cut singes his zipper. He smells of subway: secondhand smoke, smothered winter sweat, year-old urine. The subhuman way, you call it. Eyes low, I scoot back on the plastic seat, my high-laced hightops pressing the shuddery rubber floor, firm as a surfer's bare feet on a board. Between my ankles, I grip my swollen overnight bag. I feel his eyes dart over my torso, lighting on three triangle points of interest. My oversize brown leather jacket—your jacket—is zipped; my jeans are baggy. My face is downcast. Nothing gives me away. "We go-ohhh—" A drunk-sounding little kid calls out helpfully, his or her voice rising above the whine of the rails. Metal shrieks. Loose face flesh jiggles. The train rocks and we rock with it. The hanging boy's body sways, l

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