Spiraling into an incident, he had seen her,
yelled stop. She ran out. He followed,
a crowd gathered by the garbage can where the chase ended.

The el train's roaring brings all hands to the ears,
except hers.
Middle-aged plain woman,
disordered gray hair, shapeless smock for a dress,
chubby, cornered creature,
not food, not clothes, not medicine, but
a Cosmopolitan magazine, with the cover girl's glamorous eyes
scrunched by ten tightened fingers.
A daydream exposed.
Crying leave me alone, she offers the spoiled merchandise back.
The store owner accepts, then throws it in the garbage
and says forget it.
The crowd whittles away; the woman
slowly walks past the grocery, the bakery, the beauty parlor.
Another el roars by exactly on schedule.

Richard Fein