The 62 bus

by John Boland

Our lives were ruled by the 62 bus.
A phantom service, it came when it wished,
not when the schedule declared – friends
for life were first encountered at the stop.

I took it into work those years I lived
in what my parents chose as their last home,
and peered from the top into suburban gardens,
the trim hedges, fuchsia, forlorn beach balls.

Some nights, with way too many pints on board,
I caught the last one out barely in time,
hoping I wouldn’t find my mother at the door.
That’s what I mainly miss, I suppose:

her anxious face turning to giddy relief
to see her twenty-year-old smiling drunken son
home in one piece. It is years later now,
and I, too, pace my drawing-room at night,

go to the door and peer out at the dark,
praying my child comes safely home. Meanwhile,
I think of how the 62 took my mother one last time
up to the shops. She complained of a discomfiture.

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