How I lived through that time

Two years I took the midnight bus to get to work
6 hours from home; and stayed the week in the city,
surviving on ramen, fast food meals, coffee.

On Fridays, I caught the last trip and leaned
my head against the window, watching the landscape
change: pedicabs snaked through slow-moving traffic,

billboards and construction cranes gave way
to darkened skies with here and there a small
purse of coins. Sometimes, hard rain and mud

forced detours; or an engine break in the middle
of the night. Passengers sat by the road, swatting
mosquitos and waiting for the conductor who’d hailed

a passing vehicle to return from the station with another
bus. When at last I let myself in the door, everyone was long
asleep in the deepest cave before morning broke. No one heard

me pick through a trail of children’s toys and books strewn
in the hall, putting them back by touch on the shelves. As
in dreams, time passed either too slowly, or much too fast.

Trying to meet myself coming and going, undressing before
bed, I tried to learn from the mirror how not to confuse
stillness with emptiness, silence with suffering.

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