(in 1956)

A poem by Sandy Lulay


White lips, turned down,
"Who she think she is?
Not one of us...
Sure not one of us."

And I'm thinking
What a funny bus this is.
Looks like part of
A Zebra's hide from
Where I stand, inside.

Stripes of white
Look down the aisle at me.
One pair of eyes,
A glare of blue, spook me
Right down through my knees.

Hot black bodies squeezed
In tight, fill the back.
Dark images saturate the light
Squeezing tighter still
To make a space for me.

"Hey Missy!" The driving
Blue eyes shout. A cigar
Hand, waving me up front,
He yells, "You can't sit
In the back of the bus."

Startled, I choke out,
"I always do." Next
Stop he turns about and
Rumbles, "Whites up front,
Them's the rules..."

"Since when," I mumble.
A lady pats my hand with
Hers of black. "Young'in
We understands. Best Ya'll
Get up front, behind the man."

Silently I debate.
I'm too scared to move,
Too young to argue,
And much to small to
Fight his stupid rule.

Sticky wet heat runs
Down my neck as I stumble
To the front. Sitting down
Behind the blue eyed man
I wish I wasn't ten.

The door slams open.
Relieved, I'm glad to see
Downtown West Palm Beach,
Burdines, Anthonys and
My Aunt Lee.

Standing on the street
I puzzle at the fuss.
Maybe I should have my aunt
Report that bus
And get back my money.

Aunt Lee takes my hand
As I tell her about the
Blue eyed man who does not
Understand that all of a bus
Belongs to all of us.

I ask, "Could that man
Really be so dumb?
Where could he be from?"
She looks down at me
In her sweet, worried way.

Sighing she softly whispers,
"Child, don't talk so loud.
You're in the South now and
I hate to say
It's still different here."

I look around and see
The town's a Zebra too!
At the bus stop
One bench is black and
One is white.

I hold her hand
And close my eyes so tight
Thinking I can make
The pictures disappear
Because I know

They just aren't right!


       Sandy Lulay, originally from Woodstock, New York, is a resident of Stuart, Florida. Lulay is an "Original Woodstock Girl" who has been writing poetry since age ten. Many of her poems have been published both in Woodstock and Stuart's Sleeping Bear Review. She is currently working on a collection of poems that express the true soul of Woodstock, America's first art colony.

         Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted, © Sandy Lulay 2001. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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Sandy Lulay's Poems and Commentaries on Swans

REMEMBER ME (July 2001)

ROBOT MINDS (June 2001)


ESCAPE (May 2001)


Earth Day: American Myth? (April 2001)

TIDES (April 2001)


SOMEWHERE (March 2001)

SAVANNA SONG (March 2001)



Published July 23, 2001
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