Inequity

Paul sat with a woman
at the bus stop.

They were with each other
without being with each other.

Unbeknownst to each of them
they shared a destination.

Paul heard the woman’s feet
complain about blisters.

The woman heard Paul’s feet
complain about blisters as well.

They both stared forward
not really acknowledging the other.

Christmas lights across the street
decked out Santa and his Sleigh.

There were reindeer too.
But no Rudolph with his red nose.

Paul and the woman cocked their heads
at the sound of a siren.

Snow began to fall.
More flakes landed on Paul.

The woman did not notice
this unfair distribution.

The bus arrived and splashed
snow melt onto the curb.

Paul let the woman enter the bus first.
There were plenty of open seats.

The bus driver paid Paul no mind once he paid.
He sat two rows in front of the woman.

A sign advertised the Frida Kahlo exhibit
at the art museum on the lake front.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Cruising Underwater

Today I woke to the smell
of fresh baked muffins
and the remnants of a dream
where I lassoed an orca.

It is fourteen years
since I lived on Puget Sound,
where I never took
a whale watching boat.

I remember sitting
on the heights
above Clallam Bay
watching three whales circle.

This caused me to think
about all the whales
in the earth’s oceans
I have never seen.

Who, thusly, have
not seen me
running at various speeds
along the shore.

And now I think
of all the people
I never met
who walk the world.

I did not meet
everyone who lived
on the Olympic Peninsula
during my four years there.

In fact, I have not met
any of the people
who ride the bus
I ride to work.

We stare blankly into nothingness
so no eye contact takes place
so no awkward conversations
start up.

Oh! The muffins.
They are done cooling
and Dianne hands me two
straight out of the tin.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Cushion

Four AM walks past
my bus stop
as I sit on the cold green bench
awaiting the first
number fifteen of the day.

Grief litters un-mown grass
and concrete
around the bus stop
where it was left
by undone people
coming home from work.

Roadside, in the puddle,
the moon gleam
shows no sign of its craters
where a rat appears
near a grate
then scurries over to
the brimming trash bin.

Four AM circles back
in the guise of a feral cat
silently padding
through the taller grasses.
She strikes the beast
slowed down
by a partially eaten
burger with cheese.

The fifteen arrives
and I carry both
this stomach-filling victory
and family loss
into my bus ride trance,
but set it on the seat
across from me.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney