The Gentlest Theft

The Gentlest Theft

In 1963 my mother drove a school bus.
She was allowed to keep it
on weekends
and nights.

On Fridays after school we liked to fight
in the seats
with headlocks, punching and tickling ourselves
to the floor.

She had a AM radio with a civil defense station.
We were always waiting
for the bomb
but it was mostly songs.

They were playing ‘The Sugar Shack’
when the radio stopped.
Under the rumble the news came in
as if spoken by a ghost.

Kennedy lived for another twenty minutes
on the radio.
When my mother came back
he was dead.

She had a basket of laundry in her hands.
She laid it down in the bus.
There was a warm smell of clean cloth
and our shirts all folded white.

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