The Bus

Picked us up at the same spot every time,
near the teacher’s parking lot behind the school,
where the girls would file in, sometimes loudly,
sometimes quietly, past the same driver, Ed,
who would smile wide while starting his speakers.

And though the girls in back surely would
have preferred WGCI or maybe a phone to stream
soundcloud, Ed controlled the music and
in his quiet, kindly, unrelenting way refused
anything but Christmas carols. And so it was.

And so they sang. Before Tuesday road games
in November, far off in the dark suburbs, when the girls
were exhausted from their Bio study guides and
ACT prep packets, or trying in panic to finish
Macbeth, they sang Joy to the World in back. And

After the Latin School destroyed us in December,
went up 17-4 halfway through the first, and
the girls had to sulk out humiliated through the
hallways of the shining, magnificent school, in the bus
they sang Dominic the Donkey in back. Or

Before the game we almost forgot Aisha when
she ran back in for her knee brace, the one against
Pritzker when Izzy made five three-pointers in the
2nd half, when the girls on the bench kept trying
to do the wave, they sang—what’s it called? Or

When Dee Dee made that game-winner in
January, grabbed a rebound and dribbled down
the entire court, end to end, six seconds flat,
put in a layup that nearly gave me a heart attack,
they joyously sang ‘Dee Dee’ Bell Rock in back. And

I never sang along, though now I wish I had.
When I hear them now, I don’t think of Santa or
midnight kneeling in a church—just the back of
the bus, the girls singing out of tune, in communion
together, forever and ever, amen.

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