school bus

running, laughing,
playing cops and robbers,
hopscotch, jump rope,
scraping our knees and twisting our ankles.
fighting over the only slide.

running across the green top,
feeling the wind in our hair
and the breathlessness of what we have yet to know as freedom.

the bird sitting on the classroom windowsill,
the teacher, exasperated,
waits for the class to return to their seats
as they watch the little thing before it flies away.

watching teens pass by on their bikes,
wondering whos in the cars behind the bus on the way to the science museum
and making up wild and mythical stories
for the lives we will never know.

hiding from the teachers in the bathroom
when it starts to get too cold outside.
flicking hairties at the ceiling
as rain hits the windows.

snow covers the ground,
we make cards and crafts and origami
on friday mornings
eager for the hot lunch waiting for us
and the dinner ladies ready to welcome the sea of students.

talking and joking at the table
sometimes with a passing face, sometimes all familiar
howling with laughter as someone spills their drink.

these are the best years of our lives,
not our teens, not our twenties, not our thirties.
and just like that,
were the cars behind the bus.

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