I am at the back of the bus;
beside me, an Indian woman,
looks out the window, The Vancouver Sun
on the lap of her sari announces:
Bus crash in Iraq: Six pilgrims killed.
Across the aisle, a Latino girl
does not seem to care about the news;
she is listening to Salsa
on her iPhone.
Neither do others care,
the white man beside the girl,
studying a textbook on genetics,
an aboriginal man, standing over him,
his forehead pressed against the metal bar.
A few minutes later, the headline
still reads the same, when suddenly,
the Chinese driver slams on the brakes,
jerking me back into the present.
Startled, I look around:
we are still alive, although frozen,
for a moment, before the bus
moves forward, and we start again
with our own busy-ness:
one listening to music
one staring out the window
one gazing down
at one studying genetics,
the red spiral of human
in his book,
to Vancouver sun.
NILOFAR SHIDMEHR, PhD, MFA, is a bilingual writer, poet, and educator. She is the author of two collections of short fiction and five books of poetry in English and Persian.