Only Women Do This

November 4, 2008
By Alison Malehorn, Pittsburgh, PA

It’s like school is a prison
and we can’t even stay to see
that after ten minutes
everyone is already gone.
We walk together,
but we can stand there each listening
to our own music and
it doesn’t even matter.
I never talk on the bus or
at the bus stop.
Half the time we’ll stand there
listening to music,
the other half we’ll just stand there.

I guess it’s good that those old men
stand out there everyday
no matter how gross a day it is
for what they believe in
even if I don’t know anyone
that actually agrees.

Go past the bus driver that asks everybody
“How are you?”
even though no one ever answers.
Sometimes they say “Good morning”
back which doesn’t really make sense.
I just stay silent
because what am I supposed to do?
Stand there
and recount my morning to him?
I could say
“I’m fine, thank you”
but I think after asking it so many times
he doesn’t really expect an answer.

Apparently I’m riding the bus
with someone very lucky
because that’s all I can hear
as the bus wheezes out of downtown,
through Friendship,
across a corner of Highland Park
and into Morningside.
You’re so lucky!
She’s so lucky, right?
Then they make noises like Blue from Blue’s Clues
and… dinosaurs? Lions?

A little boy in the bus seat behind me
eating Skittles.
Too small to see, just the sound
of plastic rustling and crunch crunch crunch
not a word until he starts screaming momma.
Then silence as he returns
to eating his chips, invisible.

I see them when they get off the bus.
The bus ride was peaceful until I noticed
the loose pole that shrieked
every time it swung back and forth exactly
like the sound of a rusty swing.
It’s not something I can

“Only women do this.”
“Yeah. We’re stubborn.”

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