“TRANSIT”

The old man by the bus stop
winds his watch clockwise;
Time turning away from him,
toward a pack of young kids
tapping their toes on the curb;
Playing on iPhones, peddling
fingers down touch screens
to check if the 28 is running
fast or slow today.
“FAST,” one of them burps.
Age before beauty, the bus pulls up;
Gears grinding, doors spring open
before the old man who brings on board
his beat-up brown leather briefcase.
He takes his time, dropping
quarters, nickels, and dimes
into the fare box.
The driver looks over and smiles,
greeting him with a transfer printed on paper.
As the old man scoots along to sit down at the front,
the young pack rushes on wearing neoprene plastic backpacks;
Chirping digital chip cards against an electronic box,
which beeps benignly back at each one of them.
The young pack passes the old man along
as they push their way to rest at the back.
The old man makes quiet, polite conversation with the driver,
asking him to please make a stop at 8th and Market.
The driver agrees and the two of them talk about the weather
they had both read about in morning papers.
“AHHHHH, IT’S GONNA SNOW 6 INCHES TONIGHT!”
shouts the pack of young kids, with snowflake icons
glowing the Ghost of Christmas Past in their eye sockets.
Each of them tugs tighter than the next on the yellow cord
until a bright red box flashes for them to STOP.
The bus pulls to the side, a little behind in time.
The old man makes his exit, patting the driver kindly on the shoulder,
thanking him and wishing him well before the interruption:
“HEY! OPEN THE BACK DOORS! OPEN UP IN BACK! COME ON.”
And then everyone is back outside on the sidewalk,
going down different directions.
The old man focusing on every step toward home,
while the young pack finally runs out of rechargeable battery power.

narrative poem written on 12-01-2010 by: on mattkane.com
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