In those days I rode the bus for you. Dark hours stacking upon themselves.
Countless hours, I tried to count them. I learned to breathe. I learned to pray.
I stared out at frozen fields. The people shifted, uncomfortable in their straightback seats, uncomforted. The bus pushed on, fatigued, relentless as the night.
I stared at frozen fields. I breathed. I prayed.
Stolen sandwiches aged in my backpack, tasting of ash. Contemporary American mustard.
I stared at frozen faces of people shifting in their seats.

You learn yourself in those hours. They stack upon themselves. You learn darkness.
It stares right back.
You pray to Time.
It ages you.
You wish for stars. You try to count them. Pushing on, fatigued. You learn to breathe. You do not relent.

I read Austen and let my bag be checked. The poor man who checks is not impressed by my sandwiches. I know he is uncomforted by the state of contemporary American mustard.
We stop in Columbus or maybe somewhere else. I pray for a face with a bowtie that is really a camera. Nobody is there. Nobody knows what I mean. Everything is beneath, like Austen. Darkness is the surface. Time, frozen fields, the bus: they are the surface.

Shifting through the dark hours. Our unborn child is on my thoughts, counting my thoughts.
A grubby girl with an unfortunate mother is sitting with me now. She can still dream. What occasional lights there are gleam from her spectacles.
She asks about Austen.
I tell her. She asks about my sandwiches.
I tell her. She asks about you.
I cannot tell her. She gleams.
I write her a love letter in my Austen and give it to her before she disembarks. She is beneath the surface.

They are miserable, suffering, frozen. Shifting, uncomfortable, fatigued. Hours upon dark hours. These are mine and welcomed. I push on. I do not relent. I cannot tie a bowtie. But we will not relent.

The last sandwich is the worst. It has been aging. It tastes of ash and the decline of contemporary American mustard. It give me pleasure.
My Austen is gone and so is the grubby girl and there will be cigarettes in Philadelphia soon.
The darkness has relented. Time is beneath the surface. The faces do not know or understand. They do not pray.
I count the dying moments.

I have written a love letter to our unborn child.
There are no fields here. I am dreaming. Darkness is occasional and the lights are the surface. Everyone knows what I mean.
The bus pushes on. It cannot relent. The City gleams.
Long, long curve out of New Jersey. There are no journeys. There are no sacrifices. There is no suffering. I have prayed.
I am breathing.

Port Authority and I am embracing the bums. One is wearing a grubby jacket, stained with contemporary American mustard. He is my brother, and I note that he wears a bowtie well. I emerge to the surface.
The bus is dead. The tower of hours leant, leant, and crumbled. It collapses under its own discomfort.
You will never know.