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Waiting for a Greyhound Bus at the Los Angeles Station

By Cynthia Guardado

A black woman stands with two toddlers hanging off her hips.
Her balance is perfect as she pushes her luggage with one leg,

the boys curl into her shoulders unaware of how
they all slide forward. I offer her my help. Her face is serious

when she says, Yes. On the bus, her boys nestle into their shared seat.
The driver, a white man, begins his headcount:

duck, duck, goose. He asks for her ticket. Says, Only one child is free,
tells her to pay for the other or get off. It is past 2 AM

and he threatens her with the mention of his superior.
What goes through his mind as he argues with a mother

juggling her children? Empty seats surround us like
silent witnesses; this time rules can’t be broken.

I stand up to say, One child is with me, but this young mother
doesn’t trust me or the difference between us.

Another woman stands and says the child is with her
and then another woman says the child is with her.

Something beautiful is happening here, and the driver
can no longer fight our unity or the energy within us.

Added: Wednesday, August 29, 2018  /  From "Endeavor," (World Stage Press, 2017). Used with permission.
Cynthia Guardado
Photo by Sebastían Arce.

Cynthia Guardado is a Salvadorian-American poet from Inglewood, California. She is a Professor of English and the Managing Editor of the literary journal LiveWire at Fullerton College. She received her Masters of Fine Arts from California State University, Fresno. Her debut poetry collection ENDEAVOR was published in 2017 by World Stage Press. She was the winner of the Concurso Binacional De Poesía Pellicer-Frost 2017 (México). Her poems have also appeared in ITWOW: In the Words of Women International Anthology, Huizache, Bozalta Journal, The Acentos Review, and The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States. Cynthia translated and transcribed interviews with journalist and Cuban exile, Normando Hernandez Gonzalez, which were published in The Madrid Conversations (New Orleans Press, 2013). Her poetry manuscript Cenizas is forthcoming.

Other poems by this author