Songs Without Words
—a poem by Erin Foran

Songs Without Words

He rode the wheelchair lift
to the door of the number four -
black clad, standing stoic,

too weak to climb the stairs.

Just one block: he pulled the cord,
lit up the “STOP,”
descended to the street.

Wearing headphones
and wraparound shades
[although it was dark,
past six o’clock],

he carried a bag of musical scores -
“Songs Without Words” on top.


She got on at the hospital,
the corner of Ninth and Jefferson -
the next minute fell off of her seat.

Booze, maybe, or lack of sleep.

Her face fell into her plastic bag
on Third and Union Street.

At Pike she woke and peeled a fruit,
at Pine dropped banana on the floor.

At Bell she stumbled out the door.


We were the only two
and we talked about the weather

until I noticed his hand moving fast
behind his newspaper.

It should have been easy to tell him off,
or to ask the driver to kick him out,
but I stuttered
and my face flamed red.

Sixty-four mph winds,
he said.

("Songs Without Words" was originally published in the collaborative chapbook "Hill Poems.")

Erin Foran is the Poetry Editor of The Wanderlust Review. She lives in Seattle, Washington.