cleveland (number one in misery).

The man in front of me
in Subway was raised by
thorny shrubs, briar patches
& roadside weeds.
He told me to cut in front
of him, then moved real close
when I wouldn’t crowd
the blond woman in front
of me.
“Man, scoot up!” he said.

His eyes were booze red &
he was layered in chemical fumes
& general discontent.

He & the sandwich maker
knew each other.
They exchanged jokes that
made the customers uncomfortable.

The sandwich maker asked
his friend, Billy, what he wanted.
He didn’t know Billy let me cut.

I said, “You can go ahead, if you want.”

Billy yelled, “Man, I let you go! Go!”

I said, surprised, “I was just making sure.”

Billy shrugged & told his friend,
“If I was twenty years younger.”

The sandwich maker talked—
while arranging my subs—about getting
cut-off in traffic.
All I could think of saying was,
“There are some dumb drivers out there.”

Billy looked right at me & said,
“There are stupid people everywhere!”