Hour 19: directions to reach my home by the village bus

to reach my island home
once you’ve alighted
from the ferry:
lift your nose
inhale deeply the crisp and tangy air
tilt your head
inhale again
does that stir memories?

walk to the minibus
parked beside
the squat red cement shed
that serves
as a shelter
against the elements
but not against mosquitoes
and myriad other insects
that descend at dusk

board the bus
choose a seat of your liking
they’re all hard
and not at all comfortable
but that doesn’t matter

the ride begins
and the green hits you
at eye level
with dips of silvery blue
slivers on land
while large swathes
of white pock marked blue
colour the open spaces

don’t mind the rattle of the windows
or the clatter of your teeth and bones
the driver has a good track record
but better to hold
the handle of the seat ahead
in case of exigencies

the velocity of the bus
barely allows you to appreciate
the variety of bird life
at innocuous play
around the mangroves
surrounding the place

as the bus climbs small hills
speeds around bends
squeezes past other vehicles
on the narrow, winding road
you’re forced to admire
its agility

the bus heaves
past the last hill
overtaking the fat
woman with pendulous steps
it trundles across
a railway overbridge
the road narrows
like a school master’s
piercing gaze
as a vehicle approaches

you wonder
how the impasse
will resolve
and you’re witness to
the magical expansion
of the road that
lasts a few moments

you exhale
realising you had held
your breath all this while

you stand when
you sight the white
domed structure
towering above the trees
Candelaria chapel

clutching every possible aid
you yell to the driver
to stop
and stumble out
at your destination
thankful of the use
again of your legs

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