The gringa in the SUV blocks the day,
stops the bus from turning right
as she stabs in vain at parallel parking, banging the curb again
and again, her angles increasingly obtuse and painful. She
might be in Des Moines, Butte, Ottawa,
Fond du Lac, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Sheboygan
and she would not could not fit, even there.
Still she tries, still the bus driver waits, suspended,
for the gringa in the white SUV to realize
that just because you’re white in a
big white car, and just because
you want it all doesn’t make it so,
it won’t always work and the world
can only hold its breath so long
before it exhales a collective anger and stomps
on the gas of the big bitchin’ bus and pummels
her and her Detroit toy, takes off her mirror,
her door and her fender, shoves her whiteness aside
and leaves her trembling and wondering, surrounded by
people speaking a language she has not bothered to learn,
under a merciless sun, a clamorous midday.
Roger Bell is a Canadian writer who lives within dreaming distance of Georgian Bay. He is the author of six books of poetry, the latest of which, both from Black Moss Press, are The Pissing Women of Lafontaine and You Tell Me. His most recent work is Candy Cigarettes: A Small Town Memoir, also from Black Moss. He has just had a new poem published in Window Fishing: the Night We Caught Beatlemania, from Hidden Brook Press, and has poems forthcoming in anthologies paying tribute to Gordon Lightfoot and Alice Munro.