Marianne at Metro
Once She Was a Subway Flyer*
by Marianne Szlyk

when Addison Road was the end of the line.
Beyond here there were only buses
the C29 down the highway
past strip malls, past farm stands,
past the DMV and the gas station,
to the front door of the college.

Then she was a moon-faced girl
in black among the masked faces,
her students coming from work,
the stout security guards,
and the boys to men
with blank white shirts
and shorts past their knees.

That was nearly ten years ago.
She looks like her mother now,
tightening a gunmetal belt
over a navy cardigan.
She walks to work.

Someday she might come back
to see what this place has become:
the new town center, the stores,
the station

a village green with
Kenny the mayor on Foursquare,
Addison Road,
no longer the end of the line.

*NOTE: A “freeway flyer” is a name for an adjunct instructor who teaches at more than one college. A “subway flyer” would be one who, without a car, commutes via public transportation.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: This photo is from the time when I was a subway flyer. My husband Ethan Goffman took the picture at Silver Spring Metro Station, our stop back then.  When I was a subway flyer, I took Metro and other public transportation to the various places where I taught.  However, that was a long time ago.  Since then, I’ve found a full-time job, lost quite a bit of weight, and begun looking more like my mother.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Once She Was a Subway Flyer” began as a bop poem with “don’t get around much anymore” as its refrain. (I learned about the bop in Reuben Jackson’s workshop. Invented by poet Aafa M. Weaver, the bop consists of a six-line stanza, an eight-line stanza, and another six-line stanza, each separated by a refrain.) Fearing copyright issues, I took out the refrain and turned my baby bop into free verse. Eventually, Linden Avenue Literary Journal accepted the poem for Issue 17. It is also in my first chapbook, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is…an associate poetry editor at Potomac Review, and a professor of English at Montgomery College.  Recently her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, has been accepted by Flutter Press. Her poems have appeared in a variety of online and print venues, including Silver Birch Press, Long Exposure, Front Porch Review, The Syzygn Poetry Journal, ken*again, Of/with, bird’s thumb, Yellow Chair Review, Snapping Twig, Flutter Poetry Journal, and Black Poppy Review Her first chapbook is available through Kind of a Hurricane Press. She hopes that you will consider sending work to her magazine. For more information, visit The Song Is blogzine.