Service Hours – A Poem by Gaia Rajan

IceFloe Press

Service Hours

So here’s the story. Alice and Talia and I
on a bus to save the children, the teacher
stopwatch-marking hours, penciling them in
as if after forty hours we’d be saved,
or they would, these kids we couldn’t know.
Framed in sunlight, haloed without us. The bus
loved potholes. At least we’re getting our hours
in, right. Community service. Mandatory
care. The bus driver put the radio on and
we cranked our music up to drown
it out. Bullets on the pavement like shiny
flowers. Alice and Talia and I promised
each other rumors, crossed our fingers
the girls in the seat behind us wouldn’t
hear. The teacher in the front: those poor
kids. At least we’re here.
And I smiled
like everyone else but I couldn’t stop thinking
about how white colonists said all they wanted
to do was help, they were made to be there, to…

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