And through the gaps between the bodies
tightly pressed around me I see
others staring at this young white guy
as he sucks the lesions on his skin,
bites off the festered, clotted blood;
scabs on his face, scabs on his arms.
Spatters of blood on his white shoes.
I don't notice his other clothes, his eyes,
his attitude. Only his wounds.
So self-intent he doesn't see
the other riders' mixed reactions,
which range from blank indifference
to the open disgust of the old black man
across from me who winces painfully
each time the guy bites into a scab,
or the two young Korean women
whose sidelong glances paint their faces
with curiosity and fear.
Me, I wait till I get back home,
scrub my hands, and write this down:
infected, infectious, focused, fucked.