The kindness of strangers

way back then
when no one knew
the world would crack the next day,
we stood there,
tourist trappings wrapped around us
‘howdy’ I said, that quiet night on the subway.
late ride home, guest of the nephew,
no one but he, myself, and daughter, it seemed.
(surely there were others).
“We’re from Seattle,” I announced, including my girl
with the sweep
of my hand.  “Visiting him…..”
towards the nephew.

“My name’s Peter. I’m a writer,”
he replied.
‘Who do write for?’
‘A magazine–Newsweek…’
and me so impressed, not by his job
but his niceness in New York
that carried over to the exchanged emails
and the phone call I got to make the few days later
when, safely arrived at home, across miles of mayhem
and madness
I reached through, asked for him,
and heard him say, “Seattle?–how are you?”
and he cared with his questions and I in turn with mine.
He was okay….recovering in the City that had been incinerated.
We were safe at home (physically) but the mental and emotional
healing would take many, many months.
Years. (and there would be scars).
His concern helped.

Forget everything you’ve ever heard about the
fright of traveling underground in those lightless places
New York–London–Tokyo
perilously passing you through the layers underneath–
there are people kind, open, friendly,
and no matter where you are
we are all the same–
especially on the subway.

Jody Lee Collins c. 2012

this is a poem about the night before September 11th.
It is a re-post for a ‘subway’ prompt for dVerse Pub Open from March 2012.
You can read what I wrote the day after September 11th here.

7 thoughts on “The kindness of strangers

  1. Hi Jody – so crazy that you were here – and Brooklyn was pretty awful with those East-bond winds that day. But you are right that New Yorkers can be a pretty friendly bunch – certainly not always! But sometimes and when it counts. I enjoyed both your poems very much. k.


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