Written June 25, 2017
When I was seven I left the ocean behind me
and walked uphill to school.
I walked past the vacant lot of blackberries and
Twilight the horse in his yard.
A school-bus sat empty outside the fence,
outside the basketball court, outside the school.
But the school-bus wasn’t for me.
The school-bus kids were some kids that I knew who
lived far enough away to need the school-bus.
They never talked to walkers about taking the school-bus.
I took the school-bus on field trip days when you rode
it down King George Highway.
You went to the Planetarium.
You went to the Bird Sanctuary and stayed clear
of the angry swans.
You brought a brown-bagged lunch and set it on
the bus seat beside you.
You felt lucky you weren’t sitting in a classroom.
I picked fresh grass from outside Twilight’s fence,
after 3pm and weekends, when I wasn’t on my way to school.
I held it steady, a green tuft through a metal diamond.
He would be grazing at the stubbled yard and would
walk to the fence when he saw me.
He placed his soft muzzle against my palm through the
tall chain links where he stood.
He bit at the grass in my hand showing me his teeth
sometimes when he chewed.
On field trip days it wasn’t as bad.
I’d walk away, leaving the ocean behind.
I’d leave Twilight in the corner of my eye, him watching me
from the fence as I turned to walk up the hill.
by Wendy Stewart