I was never sure
what to do
whom to tell
what to say, or
if I should have pulled the emergency bell
on those days
when someone got too close for comfort
on the bus.
The ride itself wasn't scary
but the passengers
smelled of places I had never been to
eating fruit I didn't recognize
taking more space than was allowed.
What was a simple exercise
going to and from school
into something else
for a girl like me, in a uniform
that spelled the school name and its address.
Sitting straight and tall
I memorized the stops
holding tightly to the emergency string
the only thing between me and alien prowlers.