The Bus Ride Home by Thomas Reynolds

No one whispers05_10_1

On the way home

After such a loss

The gray frozen road

Cuts like a serpent

Through barren hills.


Headlights struggle

Ahead of the rattling bus

Like runners gasping for air.


No one wins in these Flint Hills

On a cold January night

Except darkness.


Besides numbness,

Players feel only the rising

And falling of glacial drifts.


The ebbing and flowing

Of an ancient sea

Inside their chests.


Wind rattling windows

Once blew across waves

Writhing with monstrous beasts.


Struggling for dominance,

They leaped out of the darkness

And caromed back into spray,


Their shrieking death cries

Echoing like thunder

Across the moonless night.


One player stirs from sleep

With such a bellowing cry

Rising from his diaphragm


But squelches it just in time,

And then turns to the window

And the undulating plains


With an uncomprehending gaze,

Unaware of the lesson about loss

Among the endless ravines,


That after the struggle ends,

And all memory of victor

And vanquished disappear,


Swallowed by darkness,

Only the wind will be left

To remember the sounds.

~ Thomas Reynolds

Thomas Reynolds is an associate English professor at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, and Prairie Poetry. Woodley Press of Washburn University published his poetry collection Ghost Town Almanac in 2008. His chapbook The Kansas Hermit Poems was published in 2013.

Guest Editor: Israel Wasserstein, a Lecturer in English at Washburn University, was born and raised on the Great Plains. Her first poetry collection, This Ecstasy They Call Damnation, was a 2013 Kansas Notable Book. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Blue Mesa Review, Flint Hills Review, and elsewhere.


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