Remembering that City Bus Ride in Quito, Ecuador

Remembering that City Bus Ride in Quito, Ecuador

I saw it first: a large black dog
ambling into the cobblestone street.
Inside the battered bus
in my metal seat, I kept quiet.
I didn't speak their language.
I squeezed the handrail
that was worn to a shine.

The dog moved slowly, a shadow
hiding from the sun's path.
The bus accelerated, shifted;
passengers' heads snapped back.

As if it were blind,
the dog didn't even glance at
the bumper inches away.

For an instant,
a silence
filled with dull claws.

Then the thud, a yelp, the hollow
thumping as the dog rolled
under the bus.

I watched the
sound, a metallic heartbeat,
traveling the length of
concave floorboards, coming
closer and closer to me
until I wished I were deaf,
until it vibrated beneath
the soles of my shoes.

Years later, there are still nights
I see that dream approaching.

When it reaches me, I let go,
my bony elbows and knees rolling and rolling
as it wraps around me
choking and comforting
like a blanket of exhaust.

by Bill Meissner

"Remembering that City Bus Ride in Quito, Ecuador" is reprinted from
The Sleepwalker's Son by Bill Meissner, Ohio University Press.

Contributors retain all rights to their work. ©1996 Kaleidoscope. Write Place. Volume 7.


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