Mystery Train

An everyday squabble in a crowded subway car becomes a lesson in power politics

"Right, he also told them I kicked him in the face. Like my foot could even reach his head," responded Black. "You know why I was on that pole? I had just given up my seat up to an old Chinese lady. I said, 'You want to sit down?' But I was right in the middle of writing in my journal. I write poetry. And I was trying to hold that thought in my head, and write it down quick before I forgot it. You know what that's like."

What was that thought? She pulled a small, black, wire-bound book from her knapsack, the one she'd been holding in the tussle on the train. She opened to a page. "This one," she said.

Eleanor Black: For holding on to the center pole, 30 hours in jail
photo: Shulamit
Eleanor Black: For holding on to the center pole, 30 hours in jail

In pencil someone had written: "All I want is to be calm and still."

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