Commuters

On the express to Boston a woman with red hair laughed
out loud. She was sitting beside me, her book chest-high
and open flat across her hands like a hymnal. It took me
a couple careless glances: "Empire Falls." Quick, the kind
of laughter exhaled in surprise, almost a hiccup of mirth
as if that instant she'd glimpsed Mardi Gras possibilities
in the leaden silence of our morning, no one doing much
of anything but staring out fogged windows, faces closed.
Tomorrow I may balk again at this bleary troop insisting
on sharing my seat, breathing my air, their very presence
in my universe an affront. Today, I love her for laughing.

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