Addict on the Subway Eating an Orange

Linda Leavitt

Tearing feebly with gritted teeth
she peels at bitter orange rind;
small bits fall to dirty linoleum floor
as she sits hunched
and in obvious pain,
oblivious to the stares
of strap-hangers
eager for her seat.

I stand watching
and wonder
if that orange
is the first non-chemical
introduced into her ravaged body
in perhaps
a week.

She is so weak.

Her frail young torso sways,
nearly topples, with each movement
of the creaking subway car.
I exit the train at west 4th street;
she stays,
still working on that orange,
listlessly eager to draw forth
her morning fix of vitamin c.

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The 2River View, 1_4 (Summer 1997)