bus to Laramie?

I used to walk, to the mill
where I worked
trodding:
six blocks up Kandleman
to sixth, past the Tremont Bar
where a hooker named Janie
would shout
from the bar stool nearest the door
on summer mornings
when the doors were open
and you’d smell disinfectant
from the night’s ‘mop-out’
mixed with the stench of old beer
and cigarette smoke
and charcoal
and she’d act as if she knew me so well:
“hey, Big Shot, come on back here,
play me some music on the juke
…and buy us round,”
but I’d laugh at her
and I’d laugh at the others who were there
for role call
at the seven AM opener
and I would rush past them
black lunch box in hand
up Charleston — uphill to the end
breathing hard…
to the Trailways station
where the grey behemoths slept
at idle…
…Laramie…
…Salt Lake…
…Billings…
read the destination signs
and sometimes I would wave
to the people aboard,
and imagine them running
from
missing husbands
demeaning jobs
or their vanished lover…
…you know, the unvarnished one
who’d stayed long enough
to make a mess…
..like the one that she’d
married far too young
(six weeks shy of her nineteenth birthday)
to the old wino, who cared
too much for cards
and drink
and
smug introspection
and
cowardly destruction
and you think now
that
perhaps
she is in Laramie
wondering what the hell
had taken her
so long
to leave.

 

Advertisements