One poem by Marianne Szlyk

Elder on the Express Bus, 2040

An elder, with blue hair
and a discreet tattoo
above the ankle,
takes the bus
to the end
of the line.

After disembarking,
they stiffly
pace the platform.
They observe
the scenery
down to the grass’
thick fingers
pushing through
thin cracks.

They then imagine
the lifeless ocean.
It exists to the east
of these vacant stores
that have been
repurposed
as homes
for climate refugees
from Kiribati
and Vanatu.


There’s nothing
to see but windows
polarized against
the sticky sun.
There’s nothing
to smell but food
too rich and spicy
for the elder to eat.

Speakers play
the thump
and whistle
of once-new music,
the closest thing

they’ll find
to the ocean.

They shrug
their shoulders
and return
to the bus,
to a book
of one-word
poems, each
centered
on the blank
page
like a pea
balanced
on a serving
platter.
These days
this bus ride is
the closest
they’ll
come to
travel.

 

©Marianne Szylk

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