I want to ride the bus to Memphis.

I want the large black woman
to sit next to me. She has
Tupperware filled with okra
and baked chicken. She opens
the containers, and the glorious smell
masks the bodily odors of the passengers.

I want to hear the baby crying
across the aisle. Mother introduces
a rubber pacifier, and soon come
the sounds of soft sucking.

I want to see the roadside trees
with their beards of Spanish moss.

I want to see the dead armadillos
that litter the highway and the hawks
that circle gently far overhead.

I want to see the sign
that tells me I am free.

Ralph Aquila