I forgot a book, this trip goes for six hours.

I’m on a bus and my heart is a can of crushed tomatoes

ready to be chopped, cooked and consumed.

If my heart was a canned tomato in a Jamie Oliver recipe,

he would advise you to press it against the pan,

and break it up with a wooden spoon.

The couple across the aisle have eaten almost an entire bag of rice cakes

with no toppings

they keep kissing,

one of them, a girl, has a cold.

The older woman in front of me has a manicure.

In the window reflection, I can see her phone screen,

she is browsing pictures of the sky.

I thought she was taking photos of a large cloud,

but I turn my head

and see it is smoke from prescribed burning,

all yellowed out at the edges like an old page.

The same woman is reading an NW magazine

with the cover rolled back, like a secret.

She has told the man in front of her that she only takes five-star holidays,

after he raised the topic of hitchhiking “on the cheap.”

His hair is pale white and the most beautiful crop on this bus.

He is wearing shorts

when the bus stops for a break,

I watch him approach other people,

they don’t mind.

 

Words by Bryce Newton

This poem first appeared in print volume 88 edition 6 BLUE.