Pushing the Peace Bus

Pushing the Peace Bus was hardest
on the third try— feeling a little
like the old bus as we stumbled,
choking on its unsuccessful smoke,
never quite catching
the necessary breath,
the houses on the old street
hardly noticing . . .

Pretty soon we felt
the trees: a still surrounding
presence, arch of limbs
from both sides of the street
commingling above us, leafy
memory of woods to the horizon
as we rested, looking up, their roots
a living tangle in the dark beneath us—

We gave the fourth try everything we had:
one block from the dead-end sign,
the black arrow pointing us
east or west, we bent
to the bumper, leaning clear
to the pavement, our feet
a living tangle, muscles moving
somehow together—

Ten cases of slightly
bruised organic apples
on the roof, the rice and lentils,
firewood, pots and pans, big
jugs of water, all of it somehow
moving together, faster
till the clutch popped and smoke
backfired in our faces again
and the Peace Bus was chugging
once more over the fallen shadows
of branches, through the temples of sun . . .

We caught up at the stop sign and
climbed aboard. The Bus
turned the corner, choosing west,
leaving a pledge and prayer
to the trees in its drifting and
dissolving smoke