Rules posted this bus: no hitting spitting poking smoking. No battering, littering, bomb laying, radio playing. Flute playing permitted if stopped at Botanic Garden. Assaulting the bus driver is a felony. Hugging bus driver is a misdemeanor except when stopped at Botanic Garden. At hospital stop, hugging self encouraged. Passengers, exiting, may wish selves the good ones, evenings and days.
This bus will kneel as stated; what thoughts does it have lowering to knees? And has it squatted, dreaming of exercise rather than lurches through traffic? It doesn’t fume impatiently when we shuffle out or tramp up; the floor yields again. But perhaps it wearies of guilt pressing it down, commissions, omissions. Will it pray for our souls, not push them into the street? Maybe it’s a kneeling circus elephant that rises, jolting and trumpeting; we fall down.
This bus, during 4 miles, passes 10 body/repair/tire/car wash spots, 8 electronics/hardware insurance places, 5 convenience/deli’s, 2 martial arts/home care store fronts next to chicken/pizza/burgers/gyros/expresso, laundromats, health pantries, shoes/suits/hats, a spiritualist— Plus in 4 blocks, a woman in a walker in whom 80 years have suddenly taken place, a cart-pusher once wife to her house who collects cans to buy good coffee, several singles dating their hearts out carrying laptops to another coffee shop, a man with freezer burn for a face who sits on a blanket with signs. The local makes 10 trips a day along its route. It’s ahead of schedule/out of service/behind schedule/on time for 104 stops.
Terese Robison has lived, in almost equal thirds of her life, in Mexico, California, and New York. She’s been an editor, interpreter, and tutor/mentor for youth on probation and now teaches writing at community colleges. Her work has appeared in Hiram Poetry Review, West Texas Literary Review, Tahoma Literary Review, *82 Review, Ginosko, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, BULL, and three anthologies based on awards for poetry.