Poem: Skytrain Cops
Written May 13, 2017
It was always rent and cat food first,
then subway fare to work then food for me.
If I was rich enough I’d get a monthly pass.
Once a couple of days before payday
I was broke but bought a ticket.
Shoved it in my purse where I kept the previous ones.
On the way home on the train the skytrain cops were
checking fares and I dug around in my purse
pulling out my tickets, I couldn’t find the new one.
They asked me to step off the train
in New Westminster and radioed in to check my name
for previous records and warnings, referring to me
as a female Caucasian and I thought about it,
standing in the platform in the sunshine,
of how I don’t get called a female Caucasian
very often and it sounded kind of weird.
They said to me though I couldn’t find my ticket
I had obviously been paying for fares recently
but to make sure next time I had a ticket so I got a warning
and I got back on the skytrain to go to my stop.
I remember someone telling me once about a colleague
who owned a house, had a family and never paid
on the skytrain to work and back day in and day out.
I looked into my purse, as I stood in the passageway
linking cars, with its rubbery moving connectors
one hand holding on to the metal bar on the wall.
I looked at the stack of skytrain tickets in order
in my side pocket and glanced up at the gates near
the calm water of the river, where they used to park
boats full of prisoners for the BC Penitentiary up the hill
as the skytrain traveled on its tracks overhead.
by Wendy Stewart