Pink bells, tattered skies
Published in blackbox manifold
For a time, I drove the short bus, the yellow
Blush, the djinn taxi. I collected articles, nouns,
And a few sturdy verbs and learned to build
Small talk. "No stun guns in the stupa,"
Was my mantra. It was tongue-in-cheek but
It dequalmed the kids. One of my charges
Was a sea goddess from Bath. Her benthic beauty
Was discomfiting to her peers. They found her
Lime skin, suckers, blubber and seaweed bouffant
Alluring yet unappetizing. They're at that age,
I thought. Bodies seething with hormones, weed,
And Keats – your chief epiphany triggers.
But my heart went out to the teen deity. Sometimes
A cross word or a taunt would drive her to cause
A tempest or three – but mostly she bottled up
Her anger and scribbled away in a diary
With a Care Bears cover. Then she vanished?
Migrated? I'd pull the bus into the parking lot
At the cove and beep, beep the air horn. At first
We thought she was sick – swine flu was on the wing.
But after a month I stopped stopping and kept droving.
One evening, as I was cleaning the bus I found
Her notebook stuffed between seat cushions.
I could smell violets and brine. In red ink I read:
the moon causes tides, not my breath
my tears keep drowners afloat
my boyfriend is not a sperm whale –
pink bells, tattered skies
I've been on earth for more than 200 million years
and can live almost twelve months without
eating all of you – almost
I did not put her scarlet pages in the lost
And found box. I topped the gas tank with starfish
And sand and climbed up onto the roof of the bus
And waited for the moonlight to empty my bay.