For the students at the bus stop beside our house
The school bus stop sits
At the intersection of Grant and Barnett
Beside our house
And this morning four students (all girls)
Gathered on the sidewalk
In the early March chill
Wearing neither coat nor sweater
Holding their books to their chests
The way no boy would ever do.
One lanky fellow ambles up.
They do not speak to each other
But study the concrete
Sleepy, yawning, no doubt wishing
They were still in bed.
The yellow behemoth lugs up the hill
Pushing a rattling diesel signature
I go out to collect the Post
And wave at the kids
As I always do if I’m out
When they are.
They stare at me,
Wondering who this person is
Up at such an ungodly hour.
They do not know that they are my people
And that I spent decades studying them in
Their natural habitat
And I would still be doing so were it not
For high stakes standardized tests
And absurd administrative policies.
As I think these thoughts, one boy
Runs down the hill and I smile
Thinking that the boys are always
Then, the as the bus is about to pull off
Another young man,
A sophomore by the looks of him,
Comes up the hill that makes
Older walkers stop to catch their breath.
He glides like a ballerina
Or a gazelle on the Serengeti Plains
And I watch his beautiful easy motion
With appreciation for something that I
No longer have.
When I taught, I started each class
With a Poem of the Day
And I toyed with the idea
Of doing that with these students
At this early hour
But decided not to since they
Won’t even return my wave.
Still, the urge to read “Mending Wall”
Or “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death”
To them is strong,
And so I have written this poem.
It is for you, my people.
And I want to say that I miss you,
Your sense of humor,
Even your drama,
Your mood swings
And your beautiful minds–
But don’t worry: it will all work out
Except when it doesn’t,
But if you survived whatever it was,
Take a break and catch your breath
And have at it again.
These words are from someone
Who knows you and has been
Around the barn a few times.
I hope for you
A good day with good conversation,
And something you like on the
And somewhere in there
Remember the man
Who waved as he picked up his paper
And next time think about waving back.
March 3, 2016