The beautiful Burmese man on the train
is dead on his feet, fighting with sleep,
hanging from a handrail, haversack dusty,
clean brown skin, chin bobbing low
on his factory T-shirt. I cannot determine
his age: white flecks in his hair, face strong
and uncreased and gentle. You could die
counting all the folds in his eyelids. I decide
he is young: titanium-esque watch,
faux-trendy flip-flops. He swings
toward me: the fragrance of alcohol on
his breath, a pink plastic bag
of Styrofoam supper, cellphone high
in his pocket, ready for theft.
And then he sees me, raises his head
and gazes with bloodshot eyes.
I reach my station. Somebody offers him
a seat.

by Ng Yi-Sheng
from A Book of Hims (2017)