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His hand rests against the express train
window, gray sideburns juxtapose
his brown suede coat, as lines
under his eyes peer down in shame
when the train stops. He sneaks a sip
of beer from a blue koozie. I wish
I could reach across the seat
with a Suntory to say “Kanpai,”
that might ease the tension
in his face. Our knees touch
and we cringe simultaneously
in the window’s reflection. He quickly
turns up the beer can and hides it,
but I want to tell him to enjoy this moment
before he arrives home, relish
the silence and the sights.
His black attaché hides his secret
against his gray wool slacks
from the woman next to him
playing on her IPAD.
I try to rest my arm against the window
and nod, to signal a bridge of understanding
between cultures. Stress reflects
the same in both of us, and I hope
that his mind truly relaxes sometime