Your small face moves in and out of the windows of the bus
Eyes happy accent marks—dashes and lashes
You chose the loud bus and left your friends on the quiet one
Your father said, “That’s my girl!”
And I wondered about both of you.
This morning, I wanted to braid your hair,
To make a rope that I could catch onto
Pull me along behind you
All the way to Becket
Instead, I asked if you’d packed the hairbrush
(You had, and the toothbrush, and sunscreen,
And even the hand cream I never knew you knew about)
I asked if you were scared
(I was the scared one)
I asked if you had something to read, but you had packed
The novel I wrote, full of my annotations,
My ideas about how to write it better next time.
I let you take it, knowing it will not find its way back home.
I stood between the two buses
Quiet and loud
The loud bus rocked
Full of neon-coated ten-year-olds
Moving between the seats like dolphins
Trying to find the best spot
While on the other bus
The ten-year-old I never was
Huddled and read her book.
Nov. 1, 2016
This poem was written as part of 30 Poems in November, a benefit to raise money for Center for New Americans, a Western MA organization that provides welcoming services and literacy for recent immigrants. For more information, or to sponsor me, go here.