five hours from tamale, back of the bus - Rob Taylor

perhaps this is joy or perhaps the delusions of pain
though it hardly seems to matter which
because i am smiling and the girl across the aisle,
body contorted, like my own,
around farm animals and furniture and kitchenware,
is smiling too –
a kindred emotion jutting up from the potholes,
through the wheel well and bus bench to her tailbone,
and finally through her rattling lips and out.

in solidarity, i compose a poem for her in my mind,
pledge to write it down once we disembark
and regain the use of our limbs
though i know it will no longer be the same poem,
and her name will have been jostled from my memory.

so i dedicate this, instead, to all the nameless girls of my life –
not the poem i am composing but the feeling that is swelling
through my hips and bouncing violently up my spine
which is perhaps joy or the delusions of pain,
though it hardly seems to matter now which.

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