ON THE 456

a man rattled through my subway car
with a cane and a cup which
rattled more than jangled
he wanted money but didn't ask for it
he tried to pick my pocket twice
it's the first time anyone has tried to rob me
since i was fourteen

he was in pretty bad shape, mumbling
i just moved away from him
a couple puerto rican teenagers
laughed about my passivity
looking me in the eyes
perhaps they were fourteen themselves