Trailways 1

I wake up against the bus window.
Move my neck to see if it has a crick.
I yawn, straighten up,
and try to sit squarely in my seat again.

I’ve been riding since the dark morning,
my shoes are still damp
from standing in the falling snow
in front of the drugstore.

Now, we have passed south,
out of the snowstorm,
and pulled into a town.
The streets here are wet,
the snow is crusted and dirty,
the sky the low, skimming gray
Of a Midwestern March.

I watch out the window
Huddled in the warmth from my body
below my coat
that I have pulled over myself
like a blanket.

We pull away from the bus stop,
Poke along the streets,
already leaving.

I look down into cafe window.
A group of old men
rattle spoons against the sides of thick mugs,
laughing at an old joke.

We pull away from the light
and climb a hill.
The small downtown turns to old houses
with lamplighted rooms.

A woman folds laundry against a sofa back,
while her children tumble on the floor.
Another girl turns to call to someone in another room.

The hill street becomes a ramp
that leads back onto
the highway.

Now I can look down
into the second stories.
A man walks across a flowered rug
switching his telephone from one hand to the other.

We stop, waiting.
I look down into the window of a gray clapboard house.
Bare ivy vines encircle the window
of an upper apartment.
A woman sits at a wooden table
in the gold light of a small lamp.
A bowl of soup sits in front of her.
She is engrossed in a book,
her spoon stopped halfway to her mouth.

The bus pulls away,
and gathers speed.

I settle further under my coat.

Having none of my own,
I hold close the comforts I have stolen.

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5 thoughts on “Trailways 1

  1. Mark Jones says:

    I could smell the exhaust.

    • odhran25 says:

      Thank you! Thanks for stopping by and reading. This poem will be the first of several I am planning on my many slow hours riding buses across the Midwest.

  2. odhran25 says:

    Thanks for the likes everyone! I am so honored that you enjoy my work.

  3. So many images to settle into – I felt as if I was traveling beside you, looking at what you were looking at over your shoulder. Traveling poems are some of my favorite and oh, you did a beyond fabulous job on this one. Strange, though – it makes me want to ride a bus on a long ride? Maybe I’ll stick with the train… but the bus…. see what you’ve done? Another theft: my train of thought, completely!

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