I wished for a seatbelt,
one of my own
that fit across my chest.
I wished for the school bus to sprout wings
and rise like a sparrow from the asphalt,
to come down in the land
of secluded ponds.
I wished for currents to carry the school bus
away from cheering basketball Friday nights,
away from the boys whose fathers did nothing
that wasn’t terrible.
I wished for silence, for the reward
of speaking up.
I wished for a parallel sunrise
to blow gently through my hair
light rays like a soft wind,
for sleep to mimic in the rhythm of giants
crumpled like locker room towels.
Just before we reached the school,
I wished for the bus’s back door to flail open
and for everyone, driver included,
to tumble out and back down
to the streets of the town
where they, but not I,
Instead, I slunk each corner
back against the wall.
I traced my escape in the linoleum,
my worth in the spaces between
the bells’ relentless rings.