Yes, it is a long way from Clare
to the financial district, but it has a good view
of elbows and mid-sections,
backpacks and shoulder bags.
Although equally crowded, it’s true that,
under normal circumstances,
the commuter train is faster.
Today, however, is far from normal,
and Grace resonates
on the shuttle bus
leaving from the derailment.
-In memory of Jim McCann, October 26, 1944 – March 5, 2015
Vera S. Scott
written 18 July 2019
Quiet morning. Fans no longer growl.
Thunderstorms sliced through the heat
A single gentle breeze
peeks under the easterly curtains
then drops them
back into place.
The first bench seat on the driver’s side of the bus was completely empty – no broken legs, no canes, no walkers – of course, the bus itself was almost empty; it being early summer and so many people gone home; at any rate, I felt blessed; I could put my purse and iced coffee right there in the first seat, sit in the second, and still have room for my shopping bag on the third. Eventually an old woman with a cane got on but she sat in a regular seat; kept giving me the evil eye; I thought maybe my ear buds were too loud but she said no, no they weren’t, with a stern, uncongenial face; so I ignored her disapproval and she eventually started to knit, well, not knit but roll the yarn into balls; she was fast at it but I don’t see why anyone bothers these days; the bus filled up quickly, I was so grateful I found a seat; but wished the old lady with the evil eye would mind her own business; it isn’t like I was doing anything wrong; her face darkened when an old man got on; I noticed as he stopped by the seat where I’d stashed my coffee and purse that he was very shaky; his legs didn’t look as if they would hold him let alone climb the stairs to the back of the bus, but he made it; so did the well-dressed man with stylish, gray hair and designer sunglasses – he was good looking for an old guy – he hesitated by my shopping bag, raised his sunglasses with one hand, and gave me a frustrated sidelong glance, but I kept right on sipping my coffee as if he wasn’t even there.
Fiction Journal from June 2017
Pink and purple clouds serrate and bank together
watching the slivered moon and one star;
shop lights burn in the vacant building.
(from June 2017)
Starling nibbles seed
from overgrown front lawns;
cars zip on paved streets
Three days ago it mattered.
We wondered how many
crows gather on the church’s crenellation; how seldom
words contain the vowel formation oeu;
how gradually to stir uncooked risotto into the boiling water.
Who cares now?
By what audacity does decanted wine breathe,
or, linen covered pillows rest fluffily and unaffected?
We hear distance winds loudly agitate the water’s surface,
witness gray squirrels restlessly
dash through our gardens. Each of our feet plods
over and over after the other
in the emptiness
of dusk. But there seems no reason for it.
It simply continues to happen.
*Thomas Barton 1977-2019