Two Poems by Joshua Barnes

They Rode the Night Bus

They rode the night bus across the desert,
Insects tattooing the windshield,
Invisible coyotes
Howling
In the distance.

They rode in quiet, cold seats,
Sun-stained baseball caps tilted low,
Duffel bags between their feet,
Looking out the windows because they couldn’t sleep,
Nothing to see but black tar and belts of stars.

They rode the night bus across the desert
From Puebla to Vegas,
Lights to lights and
Black in the middle,
Black desert,

The same desert
They walked on since they were kids,
Hiding from their dads and laughing
At the pretty gringas
Who never had to ride across the desert.

They rode the night bus across the desert
Because it was the only job to do.

Non Credea Mirarti

Sitting in the park – 
Our park – today,
I heard an aria on my playlist
That I vaguely remembered hearing once in your car:

A lost soprano of the twentieth century
Singing Bellini,
Her voice soaring, pirouetting,
And as I listened,

I looked up the libretto and 
Thought of the story you once told me
Of your father’s life as a somnambulist
And his nightly trips around the house,

Bumping into furniture,
Half-cooking omelets in the kitchen,
Getting lost in the closets,
And I laughed out loud in the park.

I wanted to call and tell you
How much joy that brought to me,
When I remembered that it was a Tuesday,
And you were at work, far too busy to talk.
Joshua Barnes

Joshua Barnes was raised in Boyne City, Michigan, and is now a Philadelphia transplant. His poetry has previously appeared in Kairos Literary Magazine. When not writing or working, he can be found reading comic books, poetry, or horror fiction, perfecting his handstands, or binge-watching Drag Race.

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