The School Bus
Frosty morning, me
Sheila, Eileen, Gail walk
crocodile line to the stop. Pink
satchel, knitted mittens on a string
round my neck, Start-rite
shoes in different sizes.
Walk in step, walk in line.
Mothers muttering behind,
one leg shorter,
Polio, you know…
Icicles like witch’s nipples
point from on high.
Waiting, I chew a black
Sultry afternoon, pumps on my feet, Sheila, Eileen, Gail
waiting for the bus accelerating away and so do I, so do I,
running, loping, one leg shorter, as the bus chugs and turns I fly
short cuts down Swine Lane, across the fields surprising the sheep,
fleeter by the Leeds and Liverpool, surprising the geese,
fearless, past the tumbled cottage which might be haunted,
faster over the humpback bridge. Breathless, I reach the stop
beating the bus, before Sheila, Eileen, Gail.
I walk home alone, the Polio Kid,
spangled and fizzing up a Sherbet fountain.