What will we remember of our time here
asks the poem from the bus banner.
My eyes flit to the ad for abortion clinics
before drifting back to the question.
Yvonne is the poet’s name.
She tells me we’re made of stardust and soil
and that the shadows may be dark at times,
but you can always shine your way out!
A woman plops down beside me.
She smells like a sidewalk piss and
looks like a Florida tent city.
I straighten up and my backpack digs
an adventurous finger into my windpipe.
I push it to the floor and try to ignore
the sound of my mason jar blowing its watery load
all over my laptop.
Thirty-five private school kids get on at the next stop.
They’re laughing that one among them
doesn’t know where McGill is.
They say he’ll end up in Sprott-Shaw—
my first alma mater.
My car is rusting in a field in my hometown.
I owe fifty thousand dollars to faceless people
who don’t care if I figure out how to be a teacher
as long as I figure out how to pay them back.
The bus comes to a stop and I see
it’s finally raining hard enough for an umbrella.
I unzip my bag, pull out the soggy apparatus and
sigh dramatically as it flops uselessly at my touch.
It’s a ten minute walk to class, but it might as well be an hour.
I throw the broken umbrella in the trash
and remind myself
it’ll all be over soon.