TUESDAY: Girl on the Underground


Copyright is held by the author.

She pilfered loose change from her father’s
neat side of the dresser and ran over
the station steps till her chest hurt,

landed in the almost empty train still
above ground. Green cloth seats in rows
with red plastic arms. When she was young

she sat on folding seats with other school girls
and played name the station on each line,
black Northern, blue Piccadilly, yellow Circle.

Older she read the Guardian from cover
to cover and did her homework.
In the crush of changing trains she shook

off men who put hands up her skirt.
She looked strangers in the eye
as she walked down long curved corridors.

With her all-system ticket she roamed

throughout London with her best friend —
school hats scrunched in their pockets.

From the Partisan coffee shop where they heard
radical folk singers, to pubs where they drank
cider, she always caught the last train home.


Image of Vera Salter

Vera Kewes Salter grew up in London, U.K., as a daughter of refugees from Nazi Europe. She travelled an hour each way to attend St. Paul’s Girls’ School from age 11 on. She moved to the U.S. in 1970 and now lives in New Rochelle, New York with her husband. She is recently published in Nixes Mate Review, Primetheus Dreaming, Right Hand Pointing, Red Eft Review, in addition to other publications.

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