Sounds Like… by S.R. Torris

“I’m so glad I traveled this morning.”

Baby’s screaming in the background as the train pulls up. I forgot, since I’m a night traveler, that there would be this many people on the train.


My tolerance has become that Ol’ Grey Mare… The languages, attitudes, noises, arguments – these things get on my nerves. Probably the reason why I travel at night.

Some guy is rapping; how I’ve become so ashamed of a history I helped to build.

“Make ya stop cryin, my nigga/Shoot your tear drops,” is today’s artistry. Pathetic.

God’s artistry, however, never is.

We herd on the train and I measure my movements to the cadence of her lithe body.

Three, four, five, six…

Her walk is a rhythm today’s rappers couldn’t keep up with, boots hugging her sleek calves, allowing the sweet escape of her denim covered legs. Deadly weapons they must be.

Lady Luck fortunes me with her presence; the one-woman concerto sits right next to me, crossing her deadly weapons in one fluid refrain. I can’t be in real life because there is no way she is this beautiful. Am I still floating in the ether?

“Niggas makin music for the white boys/They pay the right toys/That’s why you hear the white noise!”


My peripheral is 20/20 and she is completely in it.

Welcome to the clandestine club I belong to. Disgraceful in our hiding, we must seem lascivious to the rare few that catch our discreet surveys. I look at my brothers and shake my head at their mulish ignorance. Their eyes roam freely across the terrain of wondrous tundra while I’m imprisoned by my matching genitalia. A thief, stealing sweet glances like a skulking predator; my compliments would only be received as offenses while my male counterparts boast of “tearing a bitch’s back out” and reap the reward I want a minute part of.

Acknowledgments wasted on barbarians.

It’s her stop next. I want to say something… She’s gorgeous and she made me glad I traveled this morning – I want to say that to her.

Instead, “Those are some nice boots,” spills from my stoic face, belying all emotional reality.

“Thank you,” she smiles.


I knock on the plexi of the subway car, trying my best to get her attention before she puts that second ear bud in – before my train speeds out of the station.

“You’re beautiful,” my words fall on an unresponsive hard plastic surface.

She saw me and smiled a second time!

“A bitch don’t touch my cash/A bitch can wash my drawers/And kiss my ass.”

I’m so glad I traveled this morning.


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