Laugh at Me
She rides the subway now.
She is timid, worried, grabbing her baby with a young arm. Her eyes are dry and swollen. Her lips are pursed. She is young, although her eyes are taxed with all that she has seen, her body frail from all the beatings she has taken. Grasping that little baby she holds her fragile head high pretending to have direction, to have a place to go but knowing all too well that this is where she will stay. She is silently content, away from the source of her troubles, because she rides the subway now.
No one is there to love her as she loves this child. Her own mother embarrassed to love her. “dad?” she demanded through sobs. But her father turned his back in disapproval. She didn’t bother to dry her tears, she didn’t bother to pack her bags. She rides the subway now.
She is young and beautiful, but when people stop to stare their gaze rests on the baby who is nestled in her arms. Stares turn to glares and her love is considered irresponsibility, her tears and swollen eyes are deserved for what she has done. She is ignorant, she is stupid. Although she would rather them laugh and assume then let them know the truth. The man who took her innocence. The man whose touch is cold and unfamiliar. The man who is ignorant and stupid. The man whose savage ways now lie comfortably in her arms. That little girl who is the product of a horrid crime, but rides the subway now.
And in spite of this, she bursts out into laughter. She is laughing so hard that her eyes water and she has to gasp for breaths of air between stanzas. She is grabbing her sides and laughing with true peaks and lows. All who were laughing at her now stare at her astonished. Her Baby studies the contour of her lips and mimics her expertly. She laughs in tickled way and laughs in a booming thunderous way and now the train is silent. She laughs because the cold subway is better than the cold street. Because her baby is safe and away from him. She laughs because it’s better than crying.
Age 13, Grade 8,
Brooklyn Friends School