a small indiscretion


the train is full
and you squeeze into one of the window seats,
two seats facing two others,
and two weary commuters plunk down, one beside you
the other beside the seat opposite
and begin to chat about the day’s events ñ

you place your bag between your legs
and rest your arms on it;
the person opposite has a newspaper open
so for once you do not have to avert your gaze
to avoid seeming rude, as

the train lurches into motion:

with the shortage of footroom-for-four
you jam one leg against the side of the car
and stare out the window into the looming darkness

and then you feel the pressure of the calf of the passenger opposite
gently resting against yours, and instinctively
you flex your leg, gently, a polite notice
that an unwritten rule of train etiquette has been breached,
by accident, you’re sure

but as you prepare to extract and reposition your leg
the leg of the person opposite instead presses firmly against yours
pinning your calf firmly against the train car wall.

alarmed, you turn to face the person opposite
but all you can tell through the newspaper barrier
is that this aggressive passenger is a woman

and you take in the fact that she has long, lean legs
clad in stylish jeans
with zippers up both sides
and small feet with pointy black shoes;

and she has her elegant black handbag between her legs too,
so she sits, legs astride, confidently, erect, unseeable,

and something makes you stop squirming your leg,
and as you relax, the woman’s powerful calf eases off
just a trace

until it begins to move gently against you
in time to the swaying of the train
tracing tiny circles on the inner side of your calf.

you notice you have been holding your breath:
all your attention is focused on these small movements,
this barely noticeable caress, and the more you think about it
the more you think her calf is moving along yours
more intensely than the movement of the train would explain.

you wonder if she is smiling at you, from behind the paper:
you cannot see, but only sense
that she is testing you.

you are now so caught up in this strange dance
that you don’t want to do anything
to disturb this moment’s unfolding, but after a few moments
you begin slowly, infinitesimally slowly, unnoticeably so you hope,
to move your calf back in rhythm,
curving forward and ever so slightly around her calf
as the train rocks away from her pressure, and then
as your two legs rock back towards the wall, a slight resistance.

does she sense your response? you wonder as she too
seemingly begins to hold her calf closer to you
and to press more firmly, as once each second the cycle repeats
and you are again pressed firmly up against the wall
by this gentle, insistent, delicious, urgent, teasing motion.

perhaps you’re just imagining it,
since at the next station the movement stops
and she eases off, but doesn’t let you go ñ
like at the end of a dance when you stop moving
but don’t leave the floor, perhaps even hold hands and wait
for the music to move you again.

and as the train starts up, she again presses her leg against yours
as if to say don’t think you’re going anywhere and again
she begins to rock against you, those maddening little caressing circles
making your heart pound and your breath come haltingly in short gasps
and all you want is for this ride to go on and onÖ

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1 Response to a small indiscretion

  1. Daphne says:

    What a suspense-fully gripping poem! I would normally read the first two or three lines of any poem, but this I read to the end.Don’t you think you were being molested? She might not have been pretty behind the newspaper! Did you consider that thought?

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