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He is sitting across from me

On the stalled subway

Sunday morning: 1:45am

Unshaven, bulging cheeks

Bags beneath the dark eyes

Age 35-45

Black pants with food stains

Black shoes worn apart

Peeling leather, frayed laces

A Shake Shack baseball cap

A Williamstown Theatre Festival

Sweatshirt (W.T.F.)

A dirty blue backpack at his feet

His hands are clasped together, firmly

And his dark eyes are looking down

With a distant, contemplative stare

And I imagine him as

A hopeful actor

Dreaming of Broadway

Or Hollywood

Of shining lights and leading roles

For years through cramped apartments

Menial jobs, constricting poverty

Tumultuous and poisonous relationships

Forgotten sacrifices,

But he’s flipping burgers

For now

And waiting for that acting role

That will break him away

From burgers and late-night shifts

And stalled subway rides

Smelling like grease and sweat

But for now

He tells himself

Hold on

My time will come

Be patient

Hold on

I will wake up tomorrow

And keep going

Hold on

 


 

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