Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bus Stop

They are waiting at the bus stop
two boys and a girl
and previously they were screaming,
racing back and forth between traffic
as if daring death was the best they could come up with
on a sunny Tuesday afternoon.

That is true youth, when even the ultimate stop
is still a flexible, tenuous boy muscle.

Now they are laughing
using that language we all once knew
but got to old to speak, their hands cupping their mouths,
their laugh like a donkey bray.

The old woman next to me, shakes her head.
She clicks her tongue with disgust
at the girls, in her too tight shirts
stretched over fat. She straightens her collar
in case no one noticed.

Pathetic, she said,
her white hair knotted tight except for one piece.
I wondered about the tendril that slipped lose
the untamable part of her
and floated up like a sea creature
each time a bus,
that none of us wanted, roared by.

Gross, she muttered again,
this time at the fat girl’s friend,
a Hispanic boy with tight jeans
and a lisp and limp and a fat lip
and everything he’ll ever love
stamped across his chest.

As I waited for you,
for that bus carrying you, to roll around the corner,
I felt the death of mothers and fathers
the ache and the pull and the tear
of a billion atoms splitting apart.
The sound stretching past where sound can go.

When did we all become so lonely?
When did we all strive to be in a world where others are not?
Did we work for this the way farmers tended the soil?
Was our skin so fertile that it grew there
like a fern, the big shaded fronds
of lonesomeness.
It has gone down our throats,
and coated our bellies
and now it is our only food.

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