Illustration by BFXTG

To Union Square by David Klein

Illustration by BFXTG
Illustration by BFXTG

A fat man sits across
from me on the Lex Avenue 4
to Union Square
taking two seats for himself.
There’s a catch in my throat
of resentment.
                          I look away

The subtler failings of the others,
their reflexive conformity
makes the fat man seem a Buddhist
in his alpine indifference to his difference,
and how the others avoid sitting near him.
What metastatic sorrow,
what pandemonium of desire
must be swallowed in the furrows
of his convoluted skin!

Why should I look at him?
What claim can he make on me
that I should look at him?
seeming to
Or is that my own inward eye?

No one to devour
or be devoured by, heart
buried in furrowed convolutions,
free from desire with its taint of grief.

Why should I look at him,
why should I look?
Mirrored monster,
inward eye.
                         I/not I

Fat man–
in my convoluting self,
a longed for indifference to my
yeasty with shame and secrets,
unloved and unlovable
gargantuan of difference
crouched in the comforting
nearness of the others–
                         I see you

The Lex 4 stops and as I rise
carried off with the crowd in its
fevered chaos of purposefulness
I glance at the fat man and hold him
with a sense of something like love.

About the Author

David Klein

“In four stops on a NYC subway, a traveler takes a journey from hatred, through recognition, to self-acceptance.”

David Klein’s short story has been accepted for publication in The Hudson Review. Previous work has appeared in Columbia, A Magazine of Poetry and Prose,Film Comment, New York StoriesCamel Saloon, The Lost Coast Review,  Art:Mag, The American Jewish Times OutlookGlasschord: Art and Culture Magazine, The Lowestoft ChronicleMouse Tales Press, Drunk Monkeys, and The Lake.

A short story is anthologized in Intrepid Travelers (review: “David Klein hits new heights with The Final Ascent.” A book review appeared in The Lost Coast Review, Summer 2015.

About the Illustrator


BFXTG is a 36 year old French photographer who observes, feels and photographs these places, people and things that make our lives here or elsewhere.
Find out BFXTG’s pictures on Instagram or on

To Union Square is one of the many amazing submissions we have received so far for the second edition of the literary collection The Machinery. To submit for The Machinery-Second edition, you can go here.

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