Young Adult Fiction: On the Bus

bus bench seats
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On the Bus is a short collection of poems I wrote in my twenties about love, lust and discovery. A few were published in the poetry anthology my university put together, and though many years have passed since writing them, I still genuinely like them. I don’t know if that means anything, but either way, here they are.


It was a lot of hard work writing these poems, and it took a long time.

I am glad that it happened before I was around.

Most of the poems in this collection are about love, the hardest thing in the world to get right, and, with a few exceptions (Not for Me and Night), they weren’t written by me. They were written over the past ten or more years by the young woman that I used to be. In a sense, some of them might have even been written by the young girl I used to be, the one who hid on the steps around the corner from the playground during recess. And reading over them has made me want to talk to that girl again sometime. I think her poems are good.

And I miss her a lot.

Mollie Player, September 2011

On the Bus

They told me you did nothing
unusual the day that I
left. You moved like you
always do through the
long slow heat of a
summer afternoon.

But that day I waited for the
bus, watching the
cars pass by, and I waited for a
discarded Styrofoam cup to finally
crush under a passing wheel or
blow away



Will anything ever again smell
like the wet sweet smell of the
grass in that big empty football
field during a certain autumn



He is my son, too, and I am his mother. The last summer we were together, it did not feel like summer because we did not go anywhere at all. We slept and we lived and that is

We were alone.

He was my favorite thing and my
lover, and living there was just a
convenience. And no one will
ever know what we did together
all those hours we were there, even

Even me.


Oxygen Haiku

Music builds a whole eating living breathing
world out of the thin oxygen-deprived home


Feet in the Doorway

You know how sometimes you can
feel it in your feet, because your feet
have blood and your
blood is in your heart—
point . . .
Both of my feet can feel the waiting when I’m
watching you before you go to
bed, when you can’t see me in the

(my feet are tingling
in the doorway)


Maybe You Are Convinced Without Words

Maybe you are not convinced.
How to convince someone who is so
(Maybe you are convinced without words.)
One paragraph is not enough for you
to know your
true effect
(you affect me habitually).
Maybe you will never know
(Maybe you are convinced without words.)


A Promise

my poems to you
shall be like
raindrops on a
tin roof: not always
pleasant like
rain can be, but
certainly incessant
and, ideally,



I could write about the way I see your long blond body and your
strong standing pitchfork way of
standing and your
loud-like-a-metal-crate-scraping-on-a-tile-floor vocal
expression kind of
expression, and maybe you would
But how do I write about your
hands, and the way they
obtain me like an
(your first major accomplishment)
(you are a boy)
and the way that the sun winks pink through the slanted window shades
in the morning
at this screaming baby manhood

(they are accomplished—)


(Next to God and of Course America I)

I of course do not expect
You, however,
are like the Milky Way,
in its way
perfect, and scientific.

(I do not want perfection.
I only want the boy on a
platform waiting for the
subway in a city he
does not understand—)



it is always there, love,
even in the teeniest tiniest most
infinitesimal hour of the
morning so small you think its
almost not even an
hour at all—


A Love Poem

When I woke up this
morning I realized you are the
festering red-orange
that is the
on the pink bloody
landscape that did not
ask for light—



For me it’s like a
canvas, perfect and
complete, falling on my
body with a sudden color
palate and a readied
pain: It’s for me to paint the
picture but first to
rid myself of the


To You

The dry spot on the pavement is still
there from where your car was
parked this morning during a light


The Guest

Another lazy night and the car door
Announces the arrival. The fifth-floor

Bedroom window is filled with a grayish
Silhouette whispering, “Stop time.” This is

The best part. The anticipation, snow-
Streaked streets lit and quiet like they know

And are also ashamed. They hear the blinds
Slide shut and they know that as the clock

Speaking of four a.m., the sun will rise
And so will she. The morning will cover the



ask me to love
your toenail
and your Being-John-Malkovich head of
blond curly

I will not
ask you to love
my pink neon
plastic shoes
or my
Pulp Fiction all-night dancing

Love me;
disregard these



Here I am a joke; but I turn the joke
Around; I spin it like a nickel on

A counter at a penny candy store.
A shivering shiny menace in a

Penny candy world. Spins past the almond
Roca apple fritter fatter farther

Till it too gives up. Stops and falls to its
Stomach on the marble surface of an

Undefeated front. It lies, it lies,
And refuses this frivolous revolt.

So in the end, my protest made no change at
All; it was only a distraction.


Man at the Opera

Man is arm
stretched flat on opera chair
back curled fingers hiding agendas and rough
skin dress shirt sleeve folded up at


I Don’t Know What We Said

I don’t know what we said,
but the time
stopped and the ache in my chest turned to
flesh-marring shivering dull exultation.
(I stole ‘exultation’ from Dickens—)
It doesn’t matter.
He set me on a table, took my shirt and ripped
it open and saw my chest
and removed the lonely cancer like a surgeon.
There was no one after
to replace him for his skill.
Does he miss me, still?
This bleeding will stop—
(where to go?)


The Queen

The queen sits in her castle
The boy stands near her door



The only
one who ever
touched me never
did again;
he saw the
throbbing for a
underneath my clothes,
turned around and never
looked again.
But I like my black
soot-bathed heart;
better than the pink ripe
flesh of youth,
it is the


Attempted Love Poem

I don’t know how to write a
love poem. I never have before.
There is no poetry for the
pain in my chest under the
breast that just
breathes and won’t
and there is no poetry for


A Kitchen Floor

They still debate Hemingway.

If they can still debate Hemingway,
I may never be found.

I may never be found.

Only gods can find things because
only gods can see.

Only gods can see.

The rest of us are still searching for
very large inventions like a
black-and-white tile kitchen floor and


That Night

That night, he was like
perfection, almost. His eyes were so
kind. His neck was so slim and
As I stared at him he
laughed at me and we
stayed awake for a
very long time.

After that, though, he was
gone. And that is how he
will always be to
me now. He will be
apart from it all, like
something from outside this
plain earth, with
half-misty sun-scraped
eyes, for whom life
will always be a
bowl of cherries that
he doesn’t even
really want to eat.



Right now,
the whole world is
moving, very slowly,
but moving, and I’m just
closing my eyes, trying
not to be


Just One Bite

He does not love me. He will
never love me. He will never
bake a cake for my birthday with
orange frosting and little yellow
roses on the top like the one we
saw in a store window that I
told him I thought was so

Not even once.
And even if he did, I wouldn’t eat it.
But I would have a bite.



The only thing left to do at
one o’clock in the morning is to
wait for you to turn
over in your sleep so that I can
see your face and
make sure all this is not my

The only thing left to do at
one o’clock in the morning after you’ve
fallen asleep is to
look out of the window and wonder if the
whole entire world is telling me a
story, and, if so, what is it
saying about


Waking Up

It wasn’t even three o’clock
this morning when
you like a monster
woke me from my
dreams. I opened my
eyes and scraped a
shin escaping from
you and the repetition of
waiting and finding and
throwing away, like a
kid with a toy he
asked for but never really

And yet, there were
hours. Hours from two to
twelve, but that’s
thirty-six thousand
seconds and all those
minutes as well.

Besides, it was profound.
Everything was profound.
Even the salt and pepper
shakers were profound.
Somehow to me they
seemed like more than just
salt and pepper shakers and
I don’t think that I am the
only one who’s ever
thought that. They sat on the
table at the restaurant not doing
anything, just thinking, and
they were profoundly obedient and
profoundly coupled and
profoundly, beautifully,

This morning, though,
I woke up. Morning is for
waking up. I saw you
next to me and I
breathed you in and
after a moment I
coughed. And I
remembered what
there was to remember,
and even just that was

Later, at home, the
bathtub faucet dripped
very slowly into the tub,
and each drip, drip, drip into the
tub melted me like ice and I, too, was


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