Girl at the back of the bus

I held the door open for you at Port Authority

You went to the back of the bus and wouldn’t shut the fuck up

I had the pleasure of sitting a row in front of you.

 

You met a young black couple who liked your hair

Eventually you were telling them how white privilege isn’t real and that you were an RA at Hunter College.

 

By the way your hair looked dried and crusty,

And your voice was loud and obnoxious. In a way that is particularly offensive on the 11pm bus out of New York City

 

On a Monday night

 

When construction means sitting in the Lincoln Tunnel for 30 minutes

 

I sat there fantasizing about embarrassing you

Asking you to please keep your voice down

And when you protested

 

Which I knew you would

 

I would explode on you

Saying how the entire bus could hear your dumb conversation

Saying how everybody is now stupider for having heard you speak

 

But I never said anything

I just sat there until the bus stopped at Liberty Harbor

Then I claimed a vacated seat near the front

 

Where you were out of earshot

 

And for the rest of the ride I tried to make eye contact with other passengers

Hoping somebody else would share in my distaste of you

But nobody looked back at me

 

And as the bus winded its way through Edgewater and into Fort Lee

I thumbed my notebook and thought about you

 

— Matthew Speiser

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