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 –
       I wish

       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.

last updated Thursday, May 05, 2011 @ 3:07 PM