The Seven A.M. Bus

The 111 bus runs from the Los Angeles Airport transportation center East along Florence Avenue . Crossing the 110 Freeway, it slices through some of the toughest neighborhoods of South L.A. Continuing East, it passes through the densely populated Latin American working class neighborhoods of Huntington Park, Bell and Bell Gardens before coming to a somewhat upscale section of Downey, where lush lawns and palm trees surround large newly constructed houses.

The Seven A.M. Bus

you’re in front of me
at the stop light
orange aluminum
dull windows
your high rubber tires
roll along through the morning damp
on your swaying journey
along Florence venue

roll your black tires
pump your pistons
sweep up the women
from the morning dark
they hold your cold seat rail
and stare out the window
drop them off
on the wide streets
of green lawns and palm trees

they wakened their daughters and sons
in the apartments of Huntington Park
and the little Bell Gardens houses
and packed a sandwich and piece of fruit
for their husbands

come back for them tonight
they look down the road
past the lines of cars
and strain to see you in the dark

roll your tires
spew your smoke
work your swaying orange magic
change them back
to laugh freely
tuck their children into bed
and hold their husbands’ hands
set them free tonight
these women
of the seven A.M. bus

Frank Kearns
February 12, 2012

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