01/30 Riders

Spent quite a bit of time on the bus this winter, here’s a quick poem about one day.

 

Riders 

Harsh wind bites at any piece of flesh showing.

Scarves wrapped three times round.

Windpants, (yeah windpants) pulled up over jeans and covering boots laced high

Over two layers of thermal socks, long john underwear, thermal shirt, flannel, sweater, dark colored jacket

$1.75 in pocket, two days from payday.

Two degrees on the huge lit up board display after the time

Which seems ungodly, the time and temperature.

It has only been 3 minutes since I last checked the sign.

 

Riders crash together stood from back bench to the driver’s yellow line.

We’d all complain about being too close if the group heat wasn’t helping

No matter the scent of the man near the front

Or the constant drum beat of the headphones on the teenager

I can watch the volume deafening him each moment that passes.

One arm held aloft to the bar

The other huddled in tight clutching transfer card and pulsing fingers

Hoping to get sensation back before the transfer.

It doesn’t happen.

 

Transfer in the gleam of the Blue Cross Blue Shield building

A frost on the one side of Jefferson while Beubien has a sliver of reflected sunlight

We all huddle onto that sliver the fifteen minutes we can waiting,

Hoping that each air brake system we hear around the corner is the 53.

One SMART bus rolls by, and then another.

Streak of red and 70’s orange in the wrong direction and we all grumble our own pieces

Finally a signal in the distance as the bus lets its last southbound passengers off

We press to the door, it remains locked.

The collective dirty look the bus driver receives as he answers his phone while we wait could turned a pristine ER room to a junkyard.

Finally he relents, opens the doors wide and the warm air spills onto what feeling skin we still do have.

We hop on quickly to a friendly, ‘no fare, keep going’

And my day begins.

Posted in Poetry Tagged with: ,

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