We touch each other on the train. I can’t stand it when we touch.
Her arm is too soft, his hand is too rough.
Long hair that doesn’t belong to me falls on my bare shoulder. It is a frenzy of spiders. I try to escape my skin, but I am trapped inside. If you listen closely at any time of day, just about anywhere, you can hear the screaming of girls trying to leave their bodies.
His hip is on my hip. There have been hips on my hips that didn’t belong, but that was long ago. It’s all I can think about with every push into the next station.
You aren't supposed to lean into strangers, because it feels like real support. Strangers aren’t for talking to, much less touching. Her shoulders feel like bird wings, frail and pointed, and I can't hold this woman up. I don't even know her.
You’re not supposed to know what a stranger's thigh feels like, but I can feel the extra flesh of his leg melding with the flesh of my leg. I couldn’t pick him out in a lineup, but I can tell you about the softness of his body.
You’re supposed to get to know someone first, but here we are forced to stand, skin against skin, breasts into backs, leg to leg. We will not look each other in the eyes.
[photo: Emanuele Toscano]