Planned Accident

I’m bumbling along on the bus, which I understand as a planned accident, since any bump could push an i into an l, and the driver can take me out of my way for the sake of others, from whom I would learn to sleep sitting up, read a paper folded, or stare at the traffic. One can be too careful about the company one keeps. I pretend not to know them, or pry into their private lives, written in the ways they sit, thinking no one’s looking. I’m free except for everything I wouldn’t do, not dress like him, nor frown like her, nor get off at the next stop and into the car with someone else’s wife. When I get off, I’m getting off a roller coaster, all shook up, right where I want to be.

21 August 1986