A man standing at the bus stop reading the newspaper is on fire Flames are peeking out from beneath his collar and cuffs His shoes have begun to melt The woman next to him wants to mention it to him that he is burning but she is drowning Water is everywhere in her mouth and ears in her eyes A stream of water runs steadily from her blouse Another woman stands at the bus stop freezing to death She tries to stand near the man who is on fire to try to melt the icicles that have formed on her eyelashes and on her nostrils to stop her teeth long enough from chattering to say something to the woman who is drowning but the woman who is freezing to death has trouble moving with blocks of ice on her feet It takes the three some time to board the bus what with the flames and water and ice But when they finally climb the stairs and take their seats the driver doesn't even notice that none of them has paid because he is tortured by visions and is wondering if the man who got off at the last stop was really being mauled to death by wild dogs.
From Triptych, 1999
The Commoner Press, New York
Copyright 1999 by Denver Butson.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of The Commoner Press from Triptych. Copyright 1999 by Denver Butson.
Denver Butson is the author of four books of poetry, including The Sum of Uncountable Things (Deadly Chaps, 2015).