Poetry

The Road the Bus Driver Knows (August 2016)

You have two options:

you can wake up at some ungodly hour

to watch the same patched roads

disappear beneath the hood of your car,

poorly illumined because

even the sun

sleeps later than you do.

You can park in the same faded box

until you have enough wrinkles for an upgrade

and on your break,

unfold the same food from your paper bag.

You can sit at your desk,

in a chair that stopped spinning

long before your ass ever met it,

staring at the inside of your own shoe-boxed slice of heaven,

waiting for your supervisor to flick a check at you,

so you can revisit those scarred roads

and go to sleep early

because you’ll drown in your morning coffee

if you aren’t asleep by nine.

 

Or

 

you can wipe the taste

of stale coffee and insurance policies from your mouth

and shove everything you’ve ever known into your shoebox,

drawing a dotted line from

home to the Great Unknown.

You can examine your relicts:

your goosebumps and goose eggs,

bandaged knees and patchy, rug-burnt elbows—

just don’t forget to pack them in your suitcase

the morning before you stretch your greedy fingers

for the grimy, catch-me-if-you-can railing

of a city-fleeing bus long caked

with the promises and the dreams

and the excuses of a million other passengers.

From your perch on the clammy vinyl seat,

you can watch your town

disappear from your peripherals

while focusing your lenses

on the plethora of paths and

roads and state-routes

opening their mouths to swallow you

in one great wide gulp.

You don’t know where they will take you,

but you place your faith in the bus driver—

who you only half-notice

because your eyes are through the windshield,

who is straddling the two options

 

always leaving

and always coming back.

 

Published in Hiram College’s Echo (2017).
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