Waiting for a Greyhound Bus at the Los Angeles Station
A black woman stands with two toddlers hanging off her hips.
Her balance is perfect as she pushes her luggage with one leg,
the boys curl into her shoulders unaware of how
they all slide forward. I offer her my help. Her face is serious
when she says, Yes. On the bus, her boys nestle into their shared seat.
The driver, a white man, begins his headcount:
duck, duck, goose. He asks for her ticket. Says, Only one child is free,
tells her to pay for the other or get off. It is past 2 AM
and he threatens her with the mention of his superior.
What goes through his mind as he argues with a mother
juggling her children? Empty seats surround us like
silent witnesses; this time rules can’t be broken.
I stand up to say, One child is with me, but this young mother
doesn’t trust me or the difference between us.
Another woman stands and says the child is with her
and then another woman says the child is with her.
Something beautiful is happening here, and the driver
can no longer fight our unity or the energy within us.
by Cynthia Guardado
World Stage Press, 2017