Marilyn Brusca

1. The Reading
I see you everywhere, that bald crown bent forward almost against your
puffy waist-length winter jacket;
shoulders hunched, head down between your sheltering hands against the
blowing wind, the lit match touching your cigarette,
standing there in front of a string of stores at dawn, as I pass by in the
rumbling bus, now that you’re gone.
Two years and I see you everywhere as I travel to my tedious, irritating,
terrifying job.
I look out and for an instant you are still here, standing on a street corner,
or walking hunch-shouldered along.
You rode the bus to tedium over half your life, as I do now these
only last few years.
I’m sorry!

2. The Critique
“What does ‘I’m sorry’ mean?” All fired up the Professor asks, and they strain
to analyze, those darling college children.
“And what do you think?” the Professor asks, looking to me, while
for one instant I think I’ll answer:
I’d like to write a poem called WHO CARES, about a young (I admit sullen)
student who is just questioned about the meaning
of some obscure phrase in some enigmatic poem, written by a nobody,
and I’m forced by the pure integrity of my mind
to think WHO CARES; let them say what they mean outright! But instead,
I mumble; “I think she was married to him
and he died, and only now she realizes all that he did, and that through
all his years
he suffered.”

Marilyn Brusca is a retired nurse, who was a later-life student of English Literature at La Roche College, Pittsburgh. This poem is one of three runners-up in the 2008 Foley Poetry Contest.

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