The Adjunct Commuter

by Joanna Fuhrman

Joanna Fuhrman

I’m waiting for the bus and imagine the street is made
of money, but it’s not the type of money accepted on this
planet or any planet. Sometimes I’m waiting for the bus
and I see the word “new” projected on people’s faces, but
not my own. I am no longer new. What are you if you
aren’t new? The bus is on the left side, and I am on the right.
I am waiting for the bus, but I am only wearing my Underroos
and my stuffed cat can’t get on the bus because she doesn’t
have a MetroCard, and I am trying to pay the fare with a wallet
full of pigeon blood. It multiplies as it spills through the center
lane of the empty bus, foaming mouths at the edges of
bloody waves. My clones wear animal masks: lions, flamingo,
toad, while we wait for the bus. The bus is inside my skin
riding my spine. None of us are small enough to get inside it.
I don’t care where the bus is going anymore, but I want to be on it.
Have you ever kissed an august Buddha in the marsupial pouch
of a bus? It feels like being the soul of oatmeal, but better.
Everyone I have ever loved is on that bus. They are going to
a protest, but nobody remembers what the issue is, or the issue
keeps changing like the words on the signs: the name of
the candidate or the name of the war. We are going
to the march because we want to be together, but aren’t
together. We are waiting for different buses that don’t arrive.
We are waiting for a bus from inside an iceberg, and before we can
get on the bus, the icebergs have to melt. We want them to melt
because we haven’t had sex in 24 and a half days, or because
we like to eat grass-fed lamb burgers in the back of a rhinestone
stretch limousine that circles Alaska before we can even find
the bus stop. It’s possible I fell asleep and we are all melting
icebergs waiting for the bus, flooding Foster Avenue with salt water
and half-frozen chunks of displaced whale spirits. One day I am waiting
so long for the bus that I forget that I am waiting for a bus, and find
myself inventing music, dairy-free béchamel and urban tetherball.
They crown me the biggest shark in the biggest city of the universe,
and I am on every TV channel, big toothed grinning like I’m the host
or something, but nobody watches tv anymore. Everyone would
rather be writing post-linguistic poetry or studying artisanal
adzuki bean canning. If a woman smiles on a TV set and nobody
watches yadda yadda, you know. So, I go back to my bus stop,
remember I should have been waiting for the bus. I enjoy waiting
for busses. I’m a bus waiter. There’s beauty in waiting for the bus.

Last updated November 24, 2022