In the Subway

In the University Metro Station

an accordion player.

The young feet hurrying back and forth

in rapid rhythm.

A few minutes before the hour

a crescendo. The crush of crowds

hurrying to class.

No coin, no glance.

With his strong left arm

he opens

the big instrument, black with mother of pearl, keys and buttons.

He pulls it open. He tilts back, body rocking on the chair.

A pleated fan curving, the angle always changing

as the tunes, well-known and loved

or strange, some from his own past, pour forth in an echoing stream.

The weight on his legs and the straps

over his shoulders

tire him at the end of the day.

He plays waltzes and tangos, show tunes and marches.

When some old man or woman loiters beside him

smiling as he nods, he wonders

what the coin will be.

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