Subway Mirrors

On the subways they examine their faint reflections in the black glass windows, they watch their skin warp in the polished metal lining the doors, and some women even rub makeup on their cheeks in front of the one-way mirror that protects the little sliding hatch to the driver’s compartment, where an unseen Morlock knocks about and growls in between stops. There are also people who were born with mercurial eyes, and these are sometimes used for mirrors as well: women will crowd around them pouting and rubbing their lips together after having given these lips a nice smear of plum-colored lipstick, combing a silver glitter into their spidery eyelashes, and the men, likewise, will furrow their foreheads and run their hands through their hair with blank, wide-eyed expressions, leaning in so that their noses nearly touch the mirror-eyed. The crowd groans in protest if the mirror looks away or shuts these remarkable eyes, and he must also maintain a polite expression throughout his daily ordeal: if he frowns at some narcissistic excess he will only encourage the passengers, and they will glare into his eyes until they get themselves right.

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