The Cambridge Crazies
To the man on the commuter rail:
who were you once
before you took to muttering to yourself
in foreign tongues
and staring at young women
with a jack-o-lantern smile?
You look like an unwashed grandfather,
kind eyes glassed over,
arthritic fingers quivering
over a Styrofoam cup of weak black coffee.
I think I’m afraid of you,
for the mad ones
with their liquid brains
and they all want to hold your hand
and I might be one of them someday,
laughing in a subway tunnel,
growing madder as parents hug their children tightly
and look at me like I’m plagued
as they pass by,
like I pass you by.