The Bus Has Been Checked for Sleeping Children

Small for her age,
the girl likes to sit in the front
where she can see
the world without vertigo.

One morning, she misses
the bus. Her mother drives her
to the next stop.
The front seat is taken.

She finds a spot
on the bench in the back
where bumps and unwieldy turns
lull her to sleep. Don’t ask how.

No one looks for her
for hours that could have been days
if she didn’t wake up
when she did

to find a snake hissing
down the aisle.
No one can hear her scream.
She throws a book at it.

Misses. Flies out an open window.
Hits an elderly man’s shoulder
as he takes his morning walk.
He sees the girl—not the snake.

She opens another window,
climbs out. The man moves
his walker into position beneath it.
She slips out, lands

on the walker. The man returns
the book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
They shake hands. She’ll never fall
asleep again. Some signs lie.

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