Bus Ride

Photo by Emelda De Coteau

You ride.
They talk, mumble, whisper…
You look out grainy windows, past boarded up houses,
across grass, once green, caked with the fresh imprint of work boots,
littered with syringes.

You wonder if the lie of urban renewal will ever morph into truth.
You are angry because you know it will not.
You know some will drown in their own saliva, drunk with capricious notions of a BET music video existence.

You wonder if freshly painted community centers will provide salvation for people who do not know what they are being saved from.
You watch as she boards, swagger and anger become her guise,
cloaked in hyper masculinity, thumbing her nostril,
short braids moving rapidly.

Then you see her eyes,
and she becomes two years old – vulnerable, human, and sad.
Your gaze shifts back to the street.
You wonder if they know Reisterstown Road stretches for miles, morphing into neat suburban enclaves,
where manicured lawns are as ubiquitous as Colt 45 cans and greasy Chinese carry out places,
and 16-year-olds drink until nausea descends on them like flies,
but still attend Harvard or Yale.
They will grow up to blame “those people” for “urban crime.”

You wonder if those surrounding you know the depth of hatred towards them.
You are almost hysterical now.
They have all left the bus.

You are mostly alone, approaching those manicured lawns.
You still hear the passengers’ voices, feel their spirits…
The bus brakes abruptly, as if chastising your despair.
You know some of us will never know.

Photo by Emelda De Coteau

Emelda De Coteau
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