School bus

 

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There it is, appearing round the corner

They’re safe inside I’m sure.  And yet, for all I know

one might be sick, absent for a worthy reason.  Or not.

Around the corner in that clumsy way school busses have

With their oddly placed mirrors and random bus drivers.

Last year’s fat and jolly fellow mysteriously replaced

by someone with a baseball cap.

Already on the fifth day of school, the second week beginning

he knows me and lifts his hand in wary salute.

Who is this strange one out on the street corner

this waver who greets the three first riders on my bus?

Empty save for these two brothers and the sister, only them for a just a few more blocks.

And I at the corner, watching, waiting, for those first few moments of the quiet day

only a little disturbed by the city’s steadfast buzz.

There I am, waiting a little nervously, observing clouds or birds, the neighbourhood trees.

But waiting, waiting for the tentative salute of the new driver and the three pale faces.

The two little ones in front, waving and blowing kisses, already the scolding or kiss from home forgotten.

Their pale faces medallions at the window

And at the back the older boy, his face alight, perpetually surprised, the knowing smile

and “perfume” kiss delivered at the mercifully slow pace of the school bus as it goes by.

For all the wish to help them, show them, convince them

that there might be a better way, an easier way, a truer way, less fraught with terror or worse, worry

for terror has it’s self-contained limit.  Not so worry.

for all my yearning to teach them, they are carried along past me

only a look between us, a fondness, a sureness of my figure at the corner.

The way of the world that oh so soon the baseball-capped stranger carries them off and what is left?

the smile as I turn to start the day and their kisses and mine sweetening the street,

landing where they will.

 

 

 

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