[June 1997]




Walleah Press




The 182

I heave into the bus &
slip my multitrip into the conductor
who, without even giving me a thought
decides I'm user-friendly today.
I sit in the first vacant seat
with my back to the driver &
stare into the anything but
vacant stares of about thirty young Chinese
whose parents could have walked the plank for them
or without giving them the benefit of
the doubt, themselves been pirates
for all I know of where
in Asia. Laos. Cambodia. Vietnam.
At the Down's Syndrome stop
the Down's Syndrome workers
& two or three ring-ins
board the bus -- among them not
one keen, lean intelligent Chinese face
but bus-user friendly to this bus-user anyway
used to their involuntary noises & spasms
knowing most of their faces until
I find myself staring involuntarily
into another face & she into mine
both of us looking closely
& looking again.


Graham Rowlands lives in South Australia. His work has been extensively published in magazines and newspapers.