Millennium Bus

 

What a surprise!
Taking the bus, and the
Yellow bus said,
(In its computer voice)            Paradas Solicitadas  Stop Requested

And the bus rumbled along
Talking to us at every stop
Cedar Springs, Pearl, Ross, San Jacinto    Paradas Solicitada…
regardos transporto  Transfer Point

Every week day I rode the Millennium Bus
Every day I saw someone else
Every day my world changed and shrank.

The driver talked too.  She nearly always had a friend.
When she didn’t have one, she talked aloud to the bus, to the traffic.
One day she made a friend of me.
Her name, Nancy.

Nancy, from Chicago,
Could drive a bus.
She was substantial
In every way.

She made good left turns
She made the best right ones
And always knew our stops.
It was Nancy’s Bus
And her bus rolled on.

Marco from Mexico
Came on adventure for money,
For freedom.  Left wife and children
Con si Madre and came to explore English in Texas.
Worked long, stayed faithful, read and studied.
Quiet with an angelic smile.
Marco was listening.
Marco could hear.

El todo era hermoso.     And so I learned Spanish
One idiom at a time.

On the bus there were three dolls
Wearing gray hotel maid’s dress.
They laughed and spoke very high
In their native Mandarin Chinese.
They were elderly now
With a fondness for jewelry.
Sometimes they looked forlorn;
Sometimes not so weary.

One day they weren’t there,
But on another stop
Three young Asian girls
Giggling, took their seats.
It was as if the same women
Had been restored to their youth.

Nancy’s bus transformed.

Miss Estelle
Her gray hair in braids
With softness in her soul
And gentility in her hands
Introduced herself to us.
Thirty years she’d given to the Methodist Pre-school
While she’d cared for three and four year olds.
Now in her class, children and grandchildren of former students…
She had eight of her…grown now, of course.
Miss Estelle, la dama.
We all knew it.

The spirit moved on Nancy’s Bus.

Stephen lived on Sale Street
He knew the worth of things.
He lived no lies and didn’t tell them.
Fire lived in his veins, romance outlined his soul.
Stephen lived knowing life’s treasures.

Monday was Marco’s day off from the Museo.
One Monday the pretty girl in the winter dress and the red mark
Sat next to me.  I talked.  She smiled and said very little.
Over the weeks she said more, her name was Mamata.
Naciemiento Katmandu in Nepal.  Not staying long, missing the snow.
Outside the leaves drooped, the temperature was over a hundred degrees.

Staying cool on Nancy’s bus.

The people entered and left.
The slept and they frowned.
They dropped things and they signed.
They worried.  Some rode every day.
Some I never saw again.

Michelle is a name that conjures soft hair, smooth skin and sparkling eyes.
Sometimes a lined face and a hearty laugh echoes the features of youth
Seasoned with wisdom, knowledge, goodness and fun
Michelle spoke many languages and tied us together.  Some days
She outshone the sun.

Merriment on Nancy’s bus.

Words unjumbled
Amigas y amigos
Mamata had a friend from India
She understood his dialiect.
He, too, was Hindi.

A family from France, Mon Dieu!
Took the bus from Love Field and wanted to see
The State Fair.  Language was no barrier.
We told them about the exhibits, the architecture, the culture.
They were shown where to eat, where to stay.  Tres elegante.
Seasons change and people too.
The world’s people so rich in textures

Mingling on Nancy’s bus.

On the streets the single car drivers
Cast aspersions with their eyes
On those alighting from the bus.
Wearing blinders like buggy horses
They couldn’t see the scope of the horizon
Before them.

© Gay Reiser Cannon. All Rights Reserved

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