Belief in Berlin

Today, on the fabulous U-Bahn, I saw an elderly woman, dressed in a long brown skirt with Silly Putty-colored shoes, wearing a very large and ornate crucifix around her neck. Beside her was a young guy with a paunch and slicked-back hair, wearing a black jean jacket with four Elvis buttons pinned on the pocket, just over his heart.

Down at the end of the car, a young woman was a reading a book, her legs stretched out on the seat. Under her shoes, so as to protect the seat from dirt, she’d put a paper towel.

On the Way to Senefelderplatz

The deity is on the U2, going from Wittenbergplatz east, towards Pankow. She has one face, four eyes (plastic frames), two arms, and is whitish in color. She is wearing an orange leather jacket, tight-fitting, with an orange plaid shirt—the tips of its collar like daggers, pointing south. In her right hand, a sharp pencil, in her left, a book. On her lap, a white patent-leather bag with a black patent-leather handle, adorned with sequins in the shape of cartoon houses on a Paris street. The lights at each station hit the sequins and fly off in all directions, touching the other dakas and dakinis, the buddhas and the bodhisattvas, waiting to get on or off the train.

She looks at me with her wrathful gaze, her iPod’d ears. I look away.

In the distance, beyond her, are the orange roofs of the German palaces (and everywhere the charnel ground). A yellow train streaks diagonally across the sky in front of them like the trace of a star.

Remember: she is like the reflection of the moon on water.