You sat alone in back of the bus, plainly
nobody shared the seat but I asked if it
was vacant or claimed anyway. You
shrugged – as if to say you didn’t know
or didn’t care or just didn’t want to talk
I sat at ease, oblivious to stares, to
whispers. Then you found your voice,
said, Hey, you shouldn’t sit right there.
I looked around. Sit where? Right here.
Why? Everyone stares. They did, in stony
silence. And, as if it was of huge meaning,
you pointed to the other seats, explained,
I’m not allowed up there. I blithely shook
my head, did not know what that was
meant to suggest. Don’t you see, you said
with vehemence, you are, you can go there,
but I can’t.
The question ‘Why’ spent more time
seeking my lips than a search to see
if you were disabled in an odd way,
perhaps prevented by a spectacular,
as yet unseen, limblessness or were
simply glued to the seat with super glue
applied in jest by miscreants giggling
hysterically further up the bus or just
feared motion sickness exacerbated
by being seated anywhere else.
As there was nothing I could see I asked
naively for a reason which prevented you.
The look received suggested I was thicker
than a plank and equally as dense. Can’t you
see I’m Black, you sighed. I was aghast. You’re
not, I cried, I’m not that blind – at best, if
anything, you’re brown – and only just!
© 25 August 2007, I.D.Carswell