Variations on Women Inside an MRT Car

From one terminal to the next, they cannot be touched;
city regulations cordon off these landlocked sprites.
A burst of jasmine scent and tinkling of sun-bleached shells
abound in this section. When a station guard sees them,
he feels dizzy; his soul is unhinged.
These women thrive in their fragrance, in the slow jazz of their limbs.
Their grip warms steel handrails.
They birth dream words and spout nymph breath;
they bask in the day’s ashen dew and barter stories
with train-kin using their satin sleeves.
Their workbags are their chalices;
their coin purses their sewn poems.
They are baptized with names they carry only in this ride:
Landfall, Spark, Bavarian, Allergens, Thorough,
Arctic, Berries, Canopy, Meander.
No one is yet conjured by the
automated doors to bear the name, Trellis.
We wait.

Eve Beisinger


Note: MRT stands for Metro Rail Transit, a train line that traverses the Philippines’ EDSA, which is the capital’s busiest and most congested highway. One car in every line is reserved for women, children, and senior citizens. Here, they feel safe.

Eve Beisinger (née Gubat), born Filipina, is an aspiring poet and worked as a magazine writer, editor, and proofreader. Aside from her feature articles appearing in magazines, her poems saw print in Ateneo de Manila University’s Heights literary issues, in the literary magazines Philippine Graphic and Philippines Free Press, and in the following print/online anthologies: One Hundred Love Poems (U.P. Press 2004), In their Own Voice (Paper Monster Press,  2011), Quiet Shorts (Quiet 2012), {m}aganda (UC Berkeley 2012), Under the Storm (.MOV Int’l. Film, Music & Literature Festival 2011) and Brine Literary (The Pickling Poet 2018).

© 2019