I’m riding on a bus sitting next to a woman eating
a yellow tomato. We both need a bath. Outside the window
is Kansas. Then Nebraska. I note that in my ratty journal,
take a banana from a paper bag, and pretend to shoot myself.
All the reading lights are out: no one can see me.
It’s the chilling middle of the night. I hallucinate
my future. I’m a CPA with asthma. I’m a zoologist with
MS. I’m a baby who died of SIDS. The bus pulls into a
rest stop. I buy a grilled cheese, a vanilla shake,
some corn chowder. I covet a pearl-button denim shirt.
In the men’s room, I read the offerings on the vending
machines. Two truckers come and go talking of Tupelo.
Stumbling back to my seat, I stare, out a dirty window,
into the sanitary blackness. We’re 300 miles from dawn.
I read this poem a couple years back at Fictionaut, and it has stayed with me ever since. I like the pace of this poem, the distance that’s covered in this compact space, and the realness of the road — without waxing poetic. No melodramatic reminiscences in this piece, no. It’s gritty and real. I love the last line, too.
More of Bill Yarrow’s poetry can be read in a recent Poetry Special at Blue Five Notebook – with an author commentary, which is as illuminating and thought-provoking as his poetry. I edit fiction at Blue Five Notebook, but another perk is that I get to see poets like Bill Yarrow close-up, too.
Bill Yarrow is the author of Pointed Sentences, a full-length collection of poems published by BlazeVOX in 2012 and two chapbooks–Wrench, published by Erbacce Press in 2009, and Fourteen, published by Naked Mannekin Press in 2011. He has been published in many print and online journals including PANK, Thrush, DIAGRAM, Bluefifth Review and Contrary. He is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College where he teaches creative writing, film, and Shakespeare. Two chapbooks (Twenty from MadHat Press and Incompetent Translations and Inept Haiku from Červená Barva Press) are forthcoming in 2013. More information at www.billyarrow.com
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