May I Have Your Attention Please

Taylor Alexandra Duffy


The train’s been stopped for hours now so I’m killing time whispering haikus. The conductor said / that he would only hold us / momentarily. We had, on a whim, purchased the $30 tickets and now, knees touching, we were pretending like we hadn’t heard the impact or the collective gasp from the front car. One time, on Amtrak / they said something similar / but it was nothing. Whatever this is between us is too new, still hopeful, and in an attempt to preserve it you’ve set a tone that implies we are not to directly acknowledge what we’re both worried about, and I am sick with each second of avoidance. Do you think it’s weird / that they haven’t made any / other announcements? I can’t stop thinking about the sounds of passengers opening bags of chips, the small ways we distance ourselves from the collision, how with each stationary moment we press further from the incident you refuse to address. I could never be / with a man who takes quiet / car literally.


Taylor Alexandra Duffy lives in New York and works in research & development. She specializes in pending patents and penning short short stories. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in X-R-A-Y, Truffle, Passages North, and elsewhere. She was longlisted for the 2021 SmokeLong Quarterly Grand Micro.