In my rush, I took the wrong bus.
In my fatigue, I didn’t get off.
I could’ve sworn the scrolling sign said North,
but the bus headed East at 12:21.
Perhaps we see what we want to see, a palindrome.
Perhaps the universe branched, part of me took the straight
and my double took the detour. No one’s alarmed,
we aren’t hijacked, I took the wrong bus…
I’ve been this way before…
three years ago, looking for open mic night
— found my classmate four beers into his teddy-bear-hobo routine,
three years before that, looking for a book signing,
— asked some guy standing outside, “Is this the line for _________?”
His mouth said no, but his eyes said something else.
The pause was full of possibility.
What does it mean that when I get lost, I go East,
that I set out for book-signings and end up at bars,
And the boys that set me straight
look like sad, drunken saviors?
I had lunch with a long-lost cousin;
we both ordered salmon
and steaks for our mums:
two sisters sat across two near-sisters,
each unspooling a thread
from common memory.
She told the story
of our grandfather, the traveler;
we spoke of the departed,
and heaven on earth.
The storyteller swapped when plates were brought
and the stories were stoked by heat from the hearth.
Hours later, our mothers fed and happy,
we leaned closer and whispered to each other.
“You look exactly the same,”
I spoke from the heart.
The lines of her face hadn’t changed, but were cleaner,
a jewel crystallizing while we were apart.
“Oh, my lost-long cousin!” she said,
in her throat was a laugh,
in her eyes was a spark;
In my self I sensed two wires reaching,
jump-starting the heart.
The two girls with sensible shoes
approached me with dated complements,
so I slid down the park bench
for Sister K and Sister N.
“I don’t believe in anything anymore.”
They deciphered my words,
as I studied their actions:
the way Sister K sat like a pillar
and Sister N stared at the visage of her partner.
Sister K pulled a book from her bag
then gave a preamble
that was about as long as 15 minutes of coming attractions at the cinema.
Surely nothing could live up to this, I thought, glancing
at Sister N, whose eyes remained transfixed, her lips parting.
Sister K’s voice was steady, finger wedged between the hidden pages.
I understood they thought
to give me something precious.
so I received it as such.
They showed me the painting
of their prophet in the woods watching
as one god-man pointed to another,
the way Sister N’s eyes pointed to Sister K,
and I sat basking
in her projected glory.
We’re in the mood for pancakes,
polite servers with southern accents like syrup.
They butter, sir and ma’am us
and charge for the pleasure.
We cross Kings to a small park
free of seasonal tourists, full of permanent ones:
a woman with a pink suitcase
laughing and bouncing by herself;
a couple passed out together on a bench swing,
as if their shared demons melted in the morning sun.
Two men stand on the City of ________ platform
like fellow commuters, waiting to catch the same train.
A security guard walks the pavilion in easy cadence.
He says hello to us as he passes by.
We hello back, mid-swing, like these are our people
and we have always been here.
The sleeping couple shifts, the man grabs
the backpack between them, walks a few steps,
drops down to the green grass. “So soft, so soft…”
The woman stirs, looks over her prostrate partner
at us for a moment, then sinks back into her eyes,
flops onto her back, her face to the sky.
We cross the street, back to the world
of ten-dollar flip-flops, gas stations
and going places.
Manic Monday Challenge: ‘In The Mood’ — Glenn Miller Orchestra
The benches around the fountain
have been occupied by lovers.
They resist invasion from families
finished with late-evening dinners.
A young woman unravels an older man like a knitted sweater.
She rubs his back like he’s been in a war.
He resurfaces from her neck, face flushed, glasses askew.
She straightens his clothes and leads him away.
The little girl who’s been lunging for the water
escapes from her parents.
She makes it into the fountain,
diaper and all.
Word Prompt: moxie
She took the bus to my birthday party and got lost.
When my mother and I found her, she was standing in a red phone-booth.
“Why didn’t your parent’s bring you?”
“I didn’t ask them.”
My mother was worried. I didn’t care.
Angela was new in school, dusky, pretty and rogue.
She was going to be my best friend.
She invited me to her birthday party in return.
Her house was filled with grown-ups, beer and ninja flicks.
“Who are all these people?”
“I don’t know; my parents have many friends.”
I chased her around the compound, her skirt flapping like a sail.
That’s when I knew she was not mine, and would never be.
She would disappear and then return, hug me as if it were penance.
She left me watching Bruce Lee fight his own reflection.
Word Prompt: sail