Ingrid Horrocks


On the Bus
Newtown, March 2007

The man with his supermarket
bags, rhubarb stalks pink enough
to tempt the pregnant woman beside him,
turns. Her long-stemmed head lifts

and looks around. The girl who’s
all thumbs, playing her cellphone for all
the friends it’s worth, too pauses,
poised, momentarily here.

It begins as a Gregorian chant, sung
from the deep heart of one man’s throat.
Coming from no where, no one,
song fills the bus.

Then, doors puncture onto the autumn night.
Silence. The tall man from the Film Society steps out
as he does every Monday. –Good bye, I want to say,
–Good night. Wasn’t the film good?

The door sucks shut and we are together again,
listening. This time it’s a low whistle.
I watch our driver’s lips in his mirror,
see them round in a blown kiss of sound

song hums through the bus: the man across
the aisle smiles a pink smile; the woman
palms her swelling belly; the texting girl
taps in time; and I smooth the wings of my book.

When I ring the bell, step down at the dairy
corner to buy morning milk, and let the bus go,
I walk home trailing just a little
of its casual glory.



Ingrid Horrocks is a Wellington writer who has published a book of poetry, Natsukashii (Pemmican Press, 1999), and a travel book, Travelling with Augusta (Victoria University Press, 2003). She is currently completing a second poetry manuscript, Mapping the Distance. She teaches creative writing at Massey University.