Size / / /

I am almost sure that it begins on the bus—

She sits alone, flanked by strangers;

Some stare at the facing seat back,

While other passengers

Imagine strange realms

Other times, alternate ancestries,

Distant worlds beckoning

From across vast gulfs.

(I hope she knows

There are tricks to this game;

Too many a slip between

Step and street

And all without instructions)

Something about the accordion doors of a bus,

The manner in which they fold

Open and closed; topology of intersection,

In each instance opening upon

Unforseen dis/locations

In space and time—

An unimagined street corner,

Quaint village, rustic seaport—

She thinks this bus might take her

Where she wants to go.

(I hope she knows that

Giving up is not the answer

To questions posed

By men and gods)

The card is drawn blind,

As it always is,

And the doors open,

A young woman stepping down

Onto every street,

Into every rainstorm

And into every tavern

With a swinging sign

Whose sigil spells something

Dark and unpleasant.

A rowdy, rough looking crowd

In this particular cantina—

Something wet moving in the alley behind,

Is it really where she wants to be?

Something about its seediness appealing;

But no, she'll travel on, following

The lure of novelty and improbability.

(Does she have a printed schedule,

Oft-folded, frequently consulted?

And has the driver warned her

About the final stop

At the end of the line?)

The bus stops here, also

At this gray and weedy depot,

So remote it is scarcely more

Than imaginary and that only on

Good days, where I await

Her hypothetical arrival.


More than 25 stories and over 100 poems by Kendall Evans have appeared in numerous sf/fantasy/horror magazines, e-magazines and anthologies.



An aether compactor by trade, David Kopaska-Merkel began writing poetry after witnessing the Ascension of Tim. He won the Rhysling award for best long poem in 2006 for a collaboration with Kendall Evans. He has written 23 books, of which the latest is SETI Hits Paydirt  (Popcorn Press). Kopaska-Merkel has edited Dreams & Nightmares magazine since 1986.  You can reach him via email.
Kendall Evans is the author of 4 poetry chapbooks: "Separate Destinations" (with David C. Kopaska-Merkel), "Poetry Red-Shifted in the Eyes of a Dragon", "I Feel So Schizophrenic, the Starship's Aft-Brain Said" and "In Deepspace Shadows". His short story "Rufio's Song" appears in the current issue of SPACE AND TIME.
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11 Oct 2021

Back then, a nail to the neck meant a man wanted you as his wife.
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