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Dana Robbins

Riding the Subway After September 11

The Subway by Lily Furedi

We were all on edge those days. Once,
I was sitting in a café when there was
a thumping sound. Coffee mid swallow,
everyone froze between flight or fight,

until someone said, “Oh it’s just a child
kicking the wall.” You could feel the relief
in the nervous laughter that rippled through
the room.

I often picked up my young daughter
from her school in Manhattan for the long
subway ride home to Brooklyn. We were on
the F train when it stopped between stations,

abruptly went black with no explanation.
We put our arms around each other, held
our breath until a few minutes later, the lights
returned, the train trundled on as if nothing

had happened. “Mommy,” my daughter
whispered, “I said the Sh’ma.” She was
in Jewish school then, and the Sh’ma
is the prayer Jews say just before death.


About the writer:
Dana Robbins’s work received first prize in the Musehouse Poem of Hope Contest, third prize in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for Jewish Poetry in 2018, as well as an honorable mention in 2017, and an honorable mention in the Fish Poetry Contest. In 2020 and 2022, she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Moon Pie Press. She has attended the Curlew Writers Conference, the Bay Path Writers Conference, the Stonecoast Summer Writers’ Conference, and the Wellfleet Writers with Marge Piercy. Recently, she was featured as Poetica Magazine’s poet of the week.

Image: The Subway by Lily Furedi (1896-1969). Oil on canvas. 39 x 48 1/4 inches. 1934. Public domain.

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