On the top of the 24 bus, a hatching,
a discreet struggle inside a dark cocoon –
a bare elbow wriggling to break
free of its confines: then suddenly
young skin, satiny, ochre, muscular.
She dropped the black cloth from her head,
her shoulders, looked round once –
saw only a woman with a book –
and pulled a tight white teeshirt
down over her head, over her body, over
slim jeans suddenly visible, and fished
an iPhone out of her back pocket.
It showed a different self: she licked
a finger to smooth her perfect eyebrows,
then clattered loud down the back stairs
of the bus, the black chador stuffed into her bag.
I watched her long hair stream out loose
on each side as she ran off down the road.
Into the rest of the world.