October 2005 / Volume Six / Issue Five
Steve Klepetar
The Bus

I’m fourteen and riding the bus home
from my friend’s house in Flushing
and it’s warm, nothing so warm
as a bus when you’ve been waiting
forever outside, and even the fumes
rising off the blacktop smell
comforting and the bus lurches to a s
top and these three guys get on at
Kissina Boulevard.  They’re sixteen
or seventeen, big and loud and they
drop their coins which make that
little “ding, ding ding” as they
register in the machine and they look
around the bus, which is pretty
empty, just me and a few women
with shopping bags, and a couple of
kids younger than me and two older
guys and the bus driver looks ancient
as my father with his gray-white hair
and one of them says “Shit, we own
this bus” and they laugh and the bus
driver doesn’t even turn around as
they crash back toward me and fling
themselves into two rows of brown
plastic covered seats.  Two of them
are seated side by side and start
elbowing each other shouting “queer,
get the fuck off me you queer” and
the other guy is stretched out all
across his seat and the lady in front
of me is reading a paperback and I
can feel the hair rising on my neck
and Bam! Bam! Bam! The guy
lounging across two seats is kicking
at his friends and they’re all
punching and laughing and cursing
and someone gets up and changes
her seat and someone is looking real
hard at The Post and on the back of
his paper it says “Gints Dump Mets
8 - 2!”  We are all silent and hiding
and I’m staring at the back of the
seat in front of me where someone
has carved
“Angie and Gary”
in an eccentric heart right in the
plastic and our bus is a tiny universe
plunging through the edge of
nowhere like a red-knuckled fist into
the fiery chaos of night.