At thirteen, a blind girl found
her seat beside me every morning
on the school bus as we made our way
through tree-lined streets; droplets
of dew clinging to half-opened glass.
She held her white cane close to an argyle
cardigan and beamed across the aisle
like an unseeing Jesus, ignoring
ill-mannered boys who shared
our motor-room. Angled near,
but not too close, we used space
as a necessary tool for distance.
Her sightless condition framed
on a beautiful face, made her
an enigma as she sat silent and near.
Once, I said hello. Soft words floated
over her ebony flute-case and tattered book.
A moment that’s never left me for all things
I had to say, yet stuck in a breathless
instant, the way a tear rolls down a windpipe
meant for the cheek. This is my memory
of a girl named Susan, who I watched
with interest, maneuvering down stairs
of careful steps. Alone and unaided
whose divining-rod pendulum mastered
the blackness, who never asked for help,
but made the gift of seeing as unremarkable
as a dowser’s twig failing its search for water;
the onlookers unconcerned, the holder
enchanted and forever thirsty.