In A Station Of The Metro

by Becky on January 15, 2013 · 2 comments

in Travel


I’ve always loved Ezra Pound’s imagist poem, “In a Station of the Metro.”  Short, pithy, just a single image, really, it goes like this:  “The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.”

The other night, I lost one of my petals–briefly– when she got on a metro train and we didn’t make it.  The warning beep sounded, and as she turned to me, the doors closing, the train starting to move, I was too shocked even to speak.  I meant to tell her, Meet us at the next stop!  The problem:  her train was going the wrong direction.

My other petal and I waited, then got on a train going the direction her sister’s had gone, then got on a train going the opposite direction–the right direction–and stopped where we had started, thinking that perhaps she might have gone back to point A.

She wasn’t there.  I wasn’t worried about whether she could get home.  She’ll be eighteen in August, and she’s smart and resourceful.  I was worried because I didn’t know where she was.  Moms:  you get it, right?–you’re looking for a face in the crowd, a face that doesn’t appear.  Among all the fears mothers sometimes suffer from, this must be one of the worst.

Finally my younger daughter said, “I have a feeling she went to Diagonal.”

Diagonal was where we had meant to go all along.  I said, “Are you sure?  You think that’s where she might be waiting?”  To which she replied, “I am.  I know my sister.”

And so we got on the metro again and rode to Diagonal.  And got off.  And sat down on one of the benches at the stop.  And waited.  Finally I stood up, scanning the platform.  Far down at the end, she was there:  tall, hair to her waist, gray-green jacket, jeans, her back to us, obviously looking for her mother and her sister.

When I got to her, I wrapped my arms around her.  She was fine, would always have been fine.  She wouldn’t have stayed lost.  She had figured out that her train was going in the wrong direction.


I thought of the Ezra Pound poem later that night, and of how the apparition of Miss Lavender’s face in the metro station at Diagonal meant that my heart could start beating again.

Karen January 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Oh my! What a scary experience for you. But what a great story. Love that her sister was inspired, and that your missing petal remained so calm and got herself to your destination. Those are the types of moments that are so reassuring, that show you that you are raising such capable girls! Yay for happy endings!

Becky January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Karen, so fun/good to hear from you. Yes, a scary experience. But a learning one for me, too. I guess it’s an honor to be given a moment like this one, where you get to see your children demonstrate good instincts, presence of mind, and yes, inspiration. Curious, that you would use the phrase “happy ending.” That very night, when I was looking for Tess, I thought to myself, This is going to have a good ending, I know it is, I just want to GET to it!

Happy Day. And besos, one for each cheek, Spanish style.

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