The bus is late, someone has vandalized the electronic ticker

that usually tells you how long it will be

that’s all right for old timers like me

we waited in rain for buses for a living

long before the comfort of things that get vandalized

our bus stop wasn’t covered or worth beating up on

it grew weeds and graffiti ardently

the seats were hard and slick with a mélange of pop

in those days too many lesbians wrote poetry

and didn’t write to each other

you could sometimes pick them out in a bar

they’d give you an icy stare if you tried to smile

their curling angry hair aflame with unsaid words

pressed into damp bar paper, wrinkled and sour

I found a lost poem once, stained red by a cheap

bottle of rioja, burgundy circles like rejected

carnations, bleeding words into indistinguishable welts

she’d used an ink pen, she got points for that

this invisible woman of left poems who wrote:


I sit here week after week

in the one seat where they haven’t installed over head lighting

I don’t want to be seen, or noticed and

as I say that, I also know, I am standing on the bar in my imagination

dancing to my favorite song, hoping a woman

who I have looked for my entire life, will climb

up onto the bar with me and tilt her long neck back

exposing her pulse, and laugh that deep belly laugh

that reminds me why I stay, watching for silver anklets

sitting on this stool that’s uncomfortable and cold

dreaming of being someone I’m not

unable to even ask her to sit down with me

and drink this bad rioja until our lips are stained crimson

all these weeks I have tried but you couldn’t tell

by the way I am built around static, the ache of

my heart will remain a stain on a napkin long after

I give up waiting and leave this bar, never to return

because too many lesbians write poetry and do not

write to each other and don’t look up when I

look down, because we are tallow candles burning

words and lovers of poems with no way of expressing

outside the ink spilt, along with this bad rioja, our sum.


I hightail it out of the bar, my chest burns from sudden exersion

the bus is still late, I catch her walking over-slow

through belting rain, ,shoulders heavy, her step

withered, she tucks a sheaf of wet hair behind her

ear and tilts her head upward, wordlessly she

opens her mouth and lets the cascading rain fall where

words are lost, trailing like summer dresses in storm

she is tired, sitting heavily when she arrives on plastic bench

squinting through unceasing rain for the recalcitrant bus

not knowing when it will come, if at all

sole light flickering as it loses power against downpour

casting her into shadow and oblivion

june bugs crashing against one another in fury

I run faster, my unused calf muscles on fire

her now wet poem clutched in my hand

I am no longer beautiful, smooth skinned or able

to climb onto bars and fling a

creaseless neck to the winking stars

but my knees are still strong

and I believe

I will reach her

before the late bus arrives.

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