Monday, December 26, 2011

A Man with a Name (though I don't know it)

A Man with a Name
(though I don't know it)

Sat next to him
on the Greyhound bus
from New York to Maryland.

He was concerned about the seat lights.
They weren't working at first,
but they lit up when we moved.

He had a textbook on his lap.
Read two or three pages.
We both slept for a couple of hours.

He got his Master's at Hopkins.
He didn't understand
why we had made a rest stop
when we were already running late.
The driver was fixing the sockets.

I stood up to make sure that everyone was there.
(A full bus makes it easy to check.)
He admired my caring.

The tiara on my lap - for a New Year's costume?
No, I'm bringing it home
for my 20-year-old brother.

Residency in D.C. following time at UCLA.
We talked about snow and snow days
and snowball fights.
I don't like snowball fights.
I pass it off on my pacifist streak,
but really, I just get scared.
I'm more okay with them now.

He mused upon a life
without constant studying.
I appreciate structure
and work-not-work
separation.

He grew up speaking English in Nigeria.
His accent is British-sounding.
We both sometimes say "gonna". I say "hon".

The moon was newly new
and we discussed a bit of religion.
He brightened up
when I mentioned singing in New York.
He was in a church choir once.
His family is very religious;
he is "not particularly".

The sun was at 10 o'clock, on our left.
We both got sunspots. I closed my eyes,
following the circles as they descended.

He likes shrimp and crabs
and doesn't like chocolate
or Ethiopian restaurants-
the bread is not his favorite.
White chocolate is good, though.

He approves of his sister's boyfriend,
not that either of them asked him.

I did not strike him as a New Yorker.
I extolled the subway for a while
and hoped that I would not turn
taciturn.
Apparently it takes about a year.

He grew to like the Ravens
but still finds the Orioles
not to his taste.

He likes performing facial reconstructions
because he is making a difference
one person at a time.

As a Senior Resident, he has both Christmas and New Year's off.

He is going to see two friends tonight,
home friends,
and family as well. We're both hungry.

I had already deemed him
"A man with a name
(though I don't know it)"-
but he told me his name before the bus stopped,
first name only,
and I told him mine,
and we shook hands.

We parted with well wishes,
and he's going to look up my choir,
although I don't know if he'll remember
how to spell it.

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