volume seven | number one | spring 2006






Carolyn Blount Brodersen
-- On the Bus

Collette Lawlor
-- The Diver
-- Fall

Jenn Habel
-- Us
-- Allow Me to Introduce My Bad Side

Taylor Collier
-- When He Knocks

Janet I. Buck
-- A Letter to My Sister

Linda Benninghoff
-- Voices Soft as Morning Fog
-- The Aspen

Gary Charles Wilkens
-- The Gift
-- I, Tiresias

Jenny Yang Cropp
-- stealing kimchi

 On the Bus
 -- Carolyn Blount Brodersen

On the bus,
A humble woman
     with wonderful hair,
          Cotton candy
          Spun golden
          Straight strands
          Alive with light
Her only mark of beauty.
Each day
She wears the same
     blue polyester
     short-sleeved shirt
     faded dirty jeans,
And lofts a covered coffee cup.
Once, I tapped her arm and said
     your haircut looks great, it suits you.
She said thank you too fast,
     then resumed looking down.

On the bus,
Mr. Lou-the-driver
     greets Felicia's grinning face,
          (more smirk than smile).
Her palsied hands clench
     and unclench the air.
He backs her into her spot
     left side, front,
And straps her safely in.
She hugs his neck.
Sometimes she squeezes him
     without letting go.
Gently, Lou unfurls her arms,
Then carries us all away
     on his regular route.
Her wheelchair lines up with Juan's
     who lurches in a silent dance
          across the aisle.
His greasy red bandana
     crowns long stringy locks.
They flirt with each other
     in loud-slurred syllables.

The bus crowds as it rumbles along,
     gathering momentum and passengers
     looping along the coastal freeway
Each sunny-cool morning.

On the bus,
The afternoon crowd is freer, dustier.
Lucky riders catch the express.
We filter fumes
     for forty minutes.
I sit near my bus-buddy
whose name I haven't asked.
She mostly wears purpleŚ
It echoes her long black hair.
We brag about bargains and kids
     and the annoyances of life
     till we get to our stop.
Smelling like bus we roll home

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