I stepped on the heel of a man as I boarded the 12 at Pasteur. It wasn't intentional, but he didn't see it that way. After awkwardly producing an obligatory and insincere "Pardon, Monsieur," I considered the matter closed. While the train pulled out of the station I pulled out a thin slice of poetry I've been chewing on the past few days. The crust, now stale, I looked over the book to see the man staring up at me from his fold-away metro chair. I watched his fat lips mumble diluted French phrases his voice wasn't strong enough to validate. He looked up at me repeatedly, flashing his sad, cartoon gangster eyes my direction. Amused, I sat and stared at him for the rest of the ride, occassionally smiling. He continued to mumble as he checked the back of his poor fitting trouser leg. As the metro slowed to Convention and I prepared to depart, I heard the man stiffly stand up next to me.
For a brief moment I imagined grabbing him by the bruise of his throat and pushing him down to the floor. I pictured his sad eyes under the sole of my muddy shoes. I felt the bones around his jaw and temple give as I applied my weight. I finally heard his mumbles take shape as screams that came to a quick end as the toe of my shoe, the same muddy shoe that started our relationship, pushed his Adam's apple to the back of his neck.
As the doors opened I walked up the stairs to my exit. Passing some drugees and their dogs, I kept looking over my shoulder. A control officer caught my eye and I watched her begin to follow me up the stairs. As I turned out of the station, she was gone. From there I went home, feeling criminal, feeling violent, feeling whole.
*Title courtesy of Jason Coggins