Small Birds

In the dim, rumbling bus
the boy peers tiredly
from beneath a wing of yellow hair.
His eyes are as soft as they will ever be.

The boy cranes his neck
for a girl who is balanced
under damp fir boughs along the highway.
Her spine is as straight as it will ever be.

The girl emerges, made more delicate
in the too-large sweatshirt. Thin, pink hands
thrust from sleeves to push back
pillow-creased hair, jagged bangs.
Her chin tilts at the sight of
the boy in the window.

The bus spits gravel at the girl’s feet.
She does not tip-toe but strides
back to the boy’s seat
to fold herself against his side.
Their fingers intertwine,
their heads come together.

The boy and the girl
murmur their own language.  In the gray
they are one body of crooked, hooded warmth.
Thin bird legs pressing and bent in the narrow seat space.
Ruffled creatures.
Fuzzy, knotted strings in a nest.

In three miles, the bus hugs the shoulder
The girl springs up and out the rear bus door.
The boy’s eyes hold on to her
for an instant before she flits out of sight.
The bus trembles on.


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