I Bought A Bus Pass

A university job once granted me free
rides to anywhere in the county

Ding East Liberty
Ding Negley
Ding Now entering Turtle Creek

The expansive view from side facing seat
just behind the driver’s wing

Everything Ding
Behind the line Ding
Sorry my bad next stop Ding

And this transported me back to the time
just before my grandmother died

Cries of a daughter at her mother’s bedside
Sighs of a great migration sister watching her travel partner’s final ride
Night time too much pain take this medicine highs

Before that Bernice gave me Entenmann’s chocolate glazed donuts
after my bus ride through Newark ended in homework

And I thought about buying those donuts too
But the bus pass had to do.

People ask what else you’ll do.
You don’t really know from over here. I don’t know. And that’s where the poetics stop. Have you ever had people who love you tell you what dreams you can’t have? Not because they don’t think you can make it or don’t want you to accomplish them but because they don’t want to see you injured in the process. Because they know dreams require you make the same journeys on the same roads where nightmares occur and they don’t want you on those roads. Did you listen to some Black person come into some money and say they would buy their mama a house and think that was sweet or cute or endearing? And did you think that without also thinking that was all the generational wealth built on our backs stepping forward or all the diaspora, selling up and down rivers, and displacement trauma still happening to us today or all an endeavor to put money in the only place some of us may have ever been allowed to see anything grow – with our mamas? The first thing I bought was a bus pass. One day maybe I’ll have enough to buy my mama a house and when I do I’ll write a poem about what that means and paint each line of the poem on a brick for anyone to read whenever they come by for a cup of tea. Until then – a bus pass so I can dream of what it looks like to grow in my free.

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