I Was Out by Raia Small

On the west side

near the bus terminal

on the overpass overlooking a sea

of retired train cars, tucked in rail

to rail.

They were captives at the station,

a soft spray of Hudson River water

slowly rusting their bodies.

It’s an imperceptible shift, from motion

to stillness, but the turnover

will wreck your brakes.


With the sun so high overhead and the

clear wind watering my eyes, it looked

like the gas station’s sign read:

“Kill Mart” instead of “Mobil Mart.”

And don’t the avenues feel wider each time

you cross them?

I was waiting for the green light,

thinking about a time

in my life when I rode every feeling

like a bus out to the limit, just

to see how far it could take me.

The end of the line is a lonely magical

space even though its pizza places and

newstands look just like the ones in

your neighborhood.


What freedom, I thought,

to let your thoughts take up all the space

in the world.

What a limited definition of freedom.


Raia Small
Raia SmallRaia Small is a writer, activist, and eternal barista living in Flatbush, Brooklyn.