It was a late evening coming home from the city and I had a train layover at Newark. It was cool and breezy last night and not a lot of people out, so I went inside the waiting room to get out of the chill. And there I noticed this woman – furiously scribbling and hunched over her papers. She didn’t sit even though there were plenty of seats available. She was engrossed in her work, seemingly oblivious to time and place. As I am 6’3″ and she was all of 5′ tall, it wasn’t too difficult to nonchalantly pass by and take a peek. The page she was working on was written in a typical poet’s layout so I figured she must be composing something. I swallowed hard and asked her if she was a writer. She said yes, looking up only enough for her eyes to hit me at mid-chest. I pushed on. “Do you write poetry?” I asked. “Yes,” she said, this time without looking up at all. “Would you mind if I look at what you’re writing?” With her head still bowed, she flipped a page to me. I read it. I don’t really remember what the verse said – whether it was sentimental or hopeful, happy or sad. But it doesn’t matter, she was memorable. I told her it was beautiful and handed the page back to her. She said nothing and as the train pulled into the station I left her inside that dimly lit room, in her own world – the Waiting Room Poetess.
Photo by Joel Woodard