Chicago 2002

Five fifteen A.M.

Perfect happy, open-the-door rush. Pink sky, moist and dewey air today as I stepped out, soon to witness a girl getting stalked as I waited for the bus to never- neverland.

First saw in distance, a girl in pink skirt with pack down the sidewalk. Then comes truck with brights on, burning my poor corneas still sleeping.

Truck slows and honks at girl, who raises a hand to wave. I think great they know each other. The bright lights’ll never leave my face ‘cause he’s stopped right in front of the bus stop where I was about to stand.

Then get I up closer to see unbelievably that she’s stumbling, barely making out the worbly sidewalk through puffy wasted eyes and struggling to walk straight. She’s ignoring the pickup now which is creeping slowly next to her.

I look at the driver, a shadowy figure (What’s he doing?) He sees me. The girl turns down the street which is a one-way so truck can’t follow.

He stops briefly, toots his horn, pauses, then takes off. Girl is shuffling slowly, zigzagging down the sidewalk, a sweatshirt in her arms all bunched up to her stomach, heavy pack moving with her. The bus nowhere in sight.

I figure I can watch her, interested in the play of safety, and then here comes pickup way in distance to meet her again. I hear him toot again, a haunting resonance. In the early silence, it bounces off the apartment buildings and parked cars, mingles with the dispersed song of birds – always in song of celebration of summer.

And now I’m frightened for her and of the scene, and stand transfixed, ready to run over there to help (Dreading the need?) thinking maybe I should now go walk her home. (But then I’d seem like A creep and anyway I don’t know the whole story.)

Eventually the girl is long gone, out of sight and the truck disappears and the bus still hasn’t arrived.

All I can do is pray for her safety and hold the whole situation in the light and then let it go into the light.

From the light was it made manifest and to the light it returns. It’s all a grand hallucination to my sleeping mind any-way. In my hallucinatory version she’s safe and thank heaven.

Brian Janisse (May ‘20) says, “A poet intervenes by rounding out the story, giving a story depth and making it timely.” 

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