Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The School Bus
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
One of life’s most intimate events is the recounting of a personal dream. In this week’s intimate poem, Christian Barter of Bar Harbor recounts his dream of a ride on a school bus.
The School Bus by Christian Barter
In the dream I was getting on the school bus from the back of the bus for some reason, only this time instead of jeers and everyone sliding over to the aisle-side so I couldn’t sit down, someone said, “There’s a seat up here, Chris.” It wasnext to Mary Jo Stillwell, pretty as she was in eighth grade, who had slid to the window to let me sit, and when a kid put me in a headlock I simply lifted him over my head and set him in the seat in front of me, said, “Stay there,”and a little boy had grabbed a little girl by the hair, only this time I pulled him off and sat him down, saying, “You don’t ever grab a girl,” and sat her down, too, and asked her if she was all right. No one jeered at this, or swore at me,or threatened my life for disrupting the ways things were supposed to be on the school bus going to Mountain View Middle School in Sullivan, Maine— if that’s even where we were going— and when I sat back in my seat, Mary Jo leaned forwardin a very serious manner, and I kissed her as though it were the most natural thing to do with Mary Jo—short, serious kisses—on that school bus that was nothing like any school bus I had ever ridden, that was exactly like every school bus I have ever ridden,and when she started kissing my neck in a way that tickled, I woke up exactly in my life.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © Christian Barter. Reprinted from The Singers I Prefer, CavanKerry Press Ltd., 2005, by permission of Christian Barter. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.