BARTHOLOMEW

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Oh boy, here he comes

The first step and the bus slants like we’re turning a sharp curve.

At the top of the stairs he makes a three point turn,
That rearranges his clothing so that a wide band of flabby lower back
and the top of white underwear expose themselves at odd angles before he manages to back into the seat.

I feel for that seat.
I can hear it whimper with every shift,
But there is no relief, no other seat he could reach,
And that seat is his seat, undisputed, unchallenged, and unwanted.
Once, a newcomer mistook it for an empty seat, but Bartholomew arrived and she was ousted.

I’m sure, though not certain, she has since regretted ever sitting in that place.
The noises that come with an unhealthy lifestyle have been known to make the unsuspecting forced listeners queasy.

Never have I heard such sounds.

They echo in the usual hushed silence of our strangely quiet bus.
The sound is enough to make me feel my own lungs filling with the fluid he is trying to expel, my throat closing, my chest tightening,

And then it’s over.
And as my stomach slowly unknots and my breathing relaxes,
I hear an earnest whisper from a few seats back… “That’s disgusting”





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