Rain, the moment the Mexican mountain bus creeps from a steamy valley.
The warm rain
White gray fog nets.
I see gray green patches: sugar cane, pasture, corn, bananas.
No lights on the bus.
Late afternoon fast becomes twilight, then night, gray, fogged.
Up and up the bus winds.
Stops every five minutes, black umbrellas and slickers stepping from fog,
Deeper into San Luis Potosi, then Queretero.
A stylist turned social-worker-student,
A public university lit teacher vagabond.
The stylist sits,
The professor stands.
He’d like her off at his stop, a tourist site.
She’d like that – but her family and home call.
Their faces, then more dark, and outside, the gray, and pillow white.
I tell them I’m also a vagabond.
I was, too, fifty five years ago when old men in backpacks told road tales.
I doubted the stories, wished the tellers gone, away.
Now, they listen, briefly – then lock eyes for their remaining minutes.
I’m alone, decades of choices, some peace ….
Strong heavy drops pound the bus shell.
Tires cut like a boat prow, water gushing past and under.
I’m wrapped, an aged split snail on a swerving, groaning bus.
I want to yell, “Stop!” to the driver.
I’d tell him I want off,
Stumble into the fog, down a wet ditch, up its side,
Trousers soaked, backpack damp, arms wet –
And find a banana grove, lie down, rest, sleep,
There, die under dripping thick flat green leaves ….
Up more, then down, and a stop.
I follow the professor,
Clamber slick stones to a hotel,
The bus engine’s shifts crack the fog.
Then, it’s gone.
Higher, the banana grove remains,
Wrapped wet green.
Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsy, mid July 2013