The Yellow Flower Rides The Evening Bus by John Grochalski

the yellow flower rides the evening bus
in one of those plastic pots
it even has its own seat in the back
where the loud teenagers hang
and the tough guys sneak sips of beer
from cans hidden in paper sacks
no one has claimed the flower
and no one is disturbing it
i don’t know what kind of flower it is
it’s yellow and it can survive alone in a plastic pot
on a packed bus full of the tired and damned
there is a dude dressed in all black sleeping next to the flower
though he got on the bus long after it
he’s clutching his backpack
and using it as a pillow
a few times it seems like he’s going to fall over
onto the next seat
but he always jars himself awake in time
the yellow flower has no clue how perilous a journey it is on
one wonders why someone would abandon a flower
on a packed evening bus
was it an unwanted gift?
an impulse purchase in credit heavy america?
some new MTA promotion meant to brighten up our bus ride?
or was it simply forgotten
and someone is wandering the brooklyn streets this evening
flowerless and sad and in an existential crisis
at fifteenth avenue the dude in all black
wakes from his final slumber
and looks around the bus confused
before jumping to his feet
he stops and turns for a quick second
he grabs the yellow flower from its seat and takes it with him
only to throw it and his huge arizona ice tea jug
in the first garbage can that he sees
before stalking off down the street smiling
playing on his cell phone
with his backpack slung over one arm
as the bus moves on and i look at the specks of dirt
left on the flower’s empty seat
thinking how vile and ugly people are
yet how they never seem to let me down
in their innate cruelty.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming novel, The Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

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