In the Tram

On the bus watching the lives
Sharing a schedule
The cycle of everyday people.

Out the window pastel houses blur
Wet grey sky
White ocean.

First the kids
Then their parents
Starting their eight hour worlds.

There’s a boy on the bus
Looking down
Hugging his backpack
He glances at a girl.

There’s a girl on the bus
Looking down
Hugging her backpack
She glances at a boy.

Dusty, monotoned kids
Mousy and neutral
Quietly they are there
Bearing the forlorn presence of each other
Occupying space that was once their shared cocoon.

They hide their faces and
Adjust their grip
on everything they hold
They are far from each other
A white ocean in the aisleway.

They float with everyone else
Glances inflating their life vests
Eyes sending out lifeboats
Hoping that one will sail back to them
With someone in it.

The bus stops
They move with the rest of them
It’s time to go to school.

more by ANNA ELISE

Photograph by POR70


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3 Responses

  1. Jun Hua Ea says:

    I really enjoyed this, Anna. The quality of forlornness is so surely conveyed by the visual tone, aural rhythm, environment, and subtle actions present in this poem. The repetition of the kids in the bus fixes the image in one’s mind. How often we grown-ups fail to see into and understand the emotional life of children, especially the ones who don’t express themselves readily. Yet they feel all the things we feel (for the first time) while lacking the vocabulary and the practice to easily deal with these emotions. How brave they are to experience what they experience and move forward. Such sensitive observation on your part; you must be a parent. Any way congratulations on this fine piece of poetry.

    Also, these lines are exceptional:
    They float with everyone else
    Glances inflating their life vests
    Eyes sending out lifeboats

  2. Anna says:

    This means so much to me, Jun. I work with kids so maybe that comes across. It’s compliment to be thought of as a parent. Thank you so much for your kind words and taking the time to write me such a thoughtful response. This is my favorite Christmas present this year!

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