It is early in a drizzling day.
We are closely packed inside.
A vague scent of musk, moss,
damp laundry hovers
with us as we lumber along
past offices and coffee spots,
retail gates lifting, optimistic street vendors
ready for sidewalk commerce.
Only a few stare outward.
The rest are basked in the bright
glow of kindles, iPhones
blackberries and “apps.”
Our crowded coach is luminous.
Yet all this tumultuous, electronic clamor
feels strangely silent -- an eerie disconnection
among the “connected.”
Our crammed interior is decorated
with public service announcements,
“opportunity” phone numbers that no one reads.
Umbrellas of every hue lie crumpled on seats
or hooked over railings where they drip lightly
onto rubber flooring. They moisten briefcases,
oversized purses and plastic drugstore bags
(the official carry-on of domestic workers).
Passengers alight and depart.
Some sway delicately.
Others shift abruptly,
startled from electronic reveries.
They pull the cord just in time.
Some thank the driver.
More just push
out into soft rain.
Amidst it all – a young woman sits.
Quiet and calm surround her like a Madonna halo.
She cradles two small bags on her lap.
As she reaches in and out, her hands flutter
back and forth. She folds rainbow paper squares
into origami Birds of Paradise.
Her fellow travelers are quite unaware
that sanctuary has come to roost in their midst.