F and 13th

They lined the station like tchotchkes placed in careful disarray,

Here between F and 13th,

Red cheeked and frosted breath,

Bare porcelain angels waiting on the shelf of a Goodwill.


Careful now mister, you’re awfully close to the ledge.

It would be a shame to ruin that fine Italian suit with

the wheels of an eight-car train.


He stifled a cough amidst the rhythmic clacking of the subway,

As if clearing your lungs meant giving away your secrets,

Letting them spray out towards the charcoal black tunnels in hushed tones.


I never miss a thing.


Another set of trains arrive.

Another set of doors open.


Faces pass, and I peel them back like

Pretty little wrappers on thick brown muffins.

Their eyes smile back at me,

Glimpses of stories never told.


One by one they shuffle into damp train cars,

Melting into seats of plastic and leather

like little snowflakes on the back of your hand.


Doors close, another train pulls away,

And I stand on this platform,

Here between F and 13th,

Where I felt my ear was pressed to a beating heart,

Listening for the familiar thrum of my city’s soul,

And oh how it throbs!

How it pulses under my thumb like a cut with

Such vitality, such vigor!


My heart swells with the murmur of tourists and natives alike,

Gathered here like God’s bizarre art projects.

I watched at them with curious eyes and they watched me,

Just a small little Asian girl at just five-foot-three.

She smiled, breathing in the dusty train platform,

and It’s musk of a million people,

Of a million colors and a million stories.

She watched and she smiled,

Standing on this train platform,

between F and 13th.


This poem is about: 
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741