There is nothing but air between us. The night outside
is soft and cool as we hum along city streets. Nothing

but air. This is a lie. The air holds so much we cannot
touch: heat, unfallen rain. Scent of grass, the dream

I spoke aloud last night. This is how I learn what ruins
are in me – their hands on my windpipe, my best online casino ankles.

Bruising the soft skin below my radius and now the air
changing color before my eyes. There are bolts lining

the back wall of the bus and it is strange how we see
human faces in everything. What light comes through

the window panes? The bolts grin and wink as if they
know a secret they cannot tell. Everything is not what

I want. Just to wake up. To wake up alone. What can
be found when the sun breaks the clouds in this place

that is said to be close to the heavens: a rusty iron rod
stained with blood. My hands unable to clench themselves

into a fist. My body inside out
and waiting in the brush.

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RACHEL BUNTING lives and writes in Southern New Jersey, between the Delaware River and the Pine Barrens. Her poems can be found in both print and online journals including Linebreak, [PANK], Toad, Weave and Muzzle, and have been included in both Best of the Web and Best of the Net anthologies. Her first chapbook, Ripe Again, was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press, and she is currently at work on a full-length manuscript, tentatively titled A Door Opens At Night. She has recently started turning into her own grandmother and finds herself home alone on a Friday evening, making quilts. She tries to up her cool factor by taking muay thai and krav maga classes, the result of which is the constant discovery of new bruises she doesn't remember getting. But that's ok, because she can roundhouse kick your face off.

4 responses to “Damini, after the bus and in the street”

  1. hecka says:

    this poem is hecka

  2. PK says:

    Are you alluding to what happened in India? This is a beautiful poem that hits you in the guts, specifically the lines:

    This is a lie
    This is how I learn what ruins
    are in me

    and, of course, the last line.

  3. Rachel says:

    Hi guys! Thanks for commenting, and I’m so pleased to hear that the poem moved you.

    This is a poem about the gang rape in India, yes.

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