Bus Driver

By Mark Belair

A yellow school bus parked
at the curb in the rain stands
empty of students, its stop signs
tucked in, the old driver walking
down the aisle, his head turning
side to side to check each row for
forgotten backpacks, stray books,
dropped electronics, pens underfoot—
and most of all for sleeping kids.

But he finds nothing so lumbers
back to the driver’s seat and plops
down with a sigh—this weathered
man with a drooping moustache—
I can nearly hear from outside, set
to move on yet somehow unable to, instead
checking the mirrors, readjusting the seat—
then closing his eyes and clenching
the steering wheel, the bus the shell,
it suddenly seems, of his own childhood,
a childhood so hollowed by hard years
that a search of it would yield no
forgotten, discarded, or sleeping
dream he could use to drive himself


Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His most recent collection is Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015). Previous collections include Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. For more information, please visit www.markbelair.com

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