The Yellow Bus Stop


The earth is black

on both sides.

The yellow bus

taking the living away

passes pile after pile

of rubble, of signs that

were once there:

the Harley Davidson store,

The Rogue Action Center-

a nonprofit climate change group,

the community bank –

it’s vault the only thing standing.

Indistinguishable from the ash

is the mobile home park,

which once housed the migrants

that harvested the town’s fabled pears.

Only their metal survived the wildfires:

aluminum lawn chairs, a barbecue pit,

hubcaps of cars long since evacuated.

Among the stranded survivors

is the aged widower searching

impossibly for his wife’s ashes.

He had escaped and settled

here after the Paradise fires took

his previous home two years back.

Crows on charred oaks branches

watched and mock his effort.

He looked all around him

and wondered to God

if he had paid

enough grief dues.

When the bus stopped for him

he did not get on.