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"I Hated You Before I Knew You"

by Rob Littler

Motherless standing up as always
On this bus she imagines ripping
The swinging handle from its base: “What
Is it, this being, this knowing?”
He sits watching her pulsing
Neck. Obviously she is interested
In his torturous teasing pleasures: “If
Only she could read my mind.”
Together they are bouncing along
Absorbed in the immediate
Moments transported while being
Transported, motionless yet barreling
Down the concrete avenue, and each
Swaying to the same shift and punch
Of the drivers foot, pushing the diesel
To make the god awful smell and scenery.

She knows he is watching her
Without having to catch him doing it.
Girls know. He ducks. She adjusts her coat
And turns out of habit, looking
To catch those burning eyes reflecting
In the window. She thinks how just
Yesterday this uneasiness might have
Been subdued by a sense of sad flattery.
But not today. Today she is ready
To fight. She is finished. She’s starting
With him.

He smiles and she turns
Her head sideways. It is always this
Way with women when his eyes search
Theirs, for a secret communication, a nod
Like maybe they are all on guard, clamoring
To receive his offering: Yo! howYOUdo’n?
Baby, I might just be what you’re searching for.
Genuine, open, inviting, humbled, he motions
For her to take his seat. She smiles and steps
Forward. Taking his hand, she sinks
Into his chair and he pulls himself steady, imagining
Himself ripping the swinging handle from its base.


Author's Note: Made some minor changes in the first few lines.

Posted on 07/21/2013
Copyright © 2021 Rob Littler

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