whistles

the Gardena 1 to Downtown
was more crowded that morning than most

I walked all the way to the back as usual,
where the seats were higher and I could
prop my feet up against the back of the
chair in front of me, each bump in the
road adding hiccups to my scribbling

I head a strange whistle and thought
it was directed at me, at first.

the back of the bus was filled with
men that morning, but the whistling sound
came from the skinny balloons one man
was filling with a pump in the seat
behind the one I took

I smiled at him
because–
why wouldn’t you smile
at a man
filling balloons
destined to become
animals and crowns and swords and flowers?

I sat and lost myself
in my book
for a while

Maybe it was at Imperial Highway,
maybe it wasn’t ’til Manchester
maybe it wasn’t ’til 8th
when the persistent
two-toned whistle began to come
obviously from someone’s lips

My ears perked but
I didn’t turn around
not wanting to acknowledge
that I’d heard it,
wanting to be more lost
in the text than I was,
wanting to believe
that I was not the target.

It’s just a whistle, after all,
but somehow
it raised up anxiety in me,
maybe indignation
and even some shame
at the assumption that
I was the whistler’s object–
wouldn’t that be vain?

Three more in quick succession
and I continued writing notes,
not looking back for
confirmation or denial
not wanting to deal with
either possibility
feeling

 

so

 

weak

 

so

 

cowardly

 

to not even
want to see.

It gets
tiring
standing up

and I wanted
to not be tired

and I wanted
to tell the whistler off
if necessary

but at that moment
I could only be glad
to arrive at my stop.

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2 thoughts on “whistles

  1. ann says:

    bus rides are always so colorful, when the bumpiness of the road doesn’t lull you to sleep. i always seem to sleep when all i wished to do was read….

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