You’ve thumbed though that volume of Neruda but have never committed to more than a few pages. You have that one poem earmarked – the one about a lemon. Other poems have caught your eye, but none received a folded corner. Other books are scattered about the house. A few on the lower shelf of the nightstand; three on the dining room table; one on the shelf in the hall; two on the coffee table, in front of the television. You’ve wandered through those pages slowly, often forgetting your place and refusing to use bookmarks. It’s enough to own them, you sometimes think. It’s enough to let ambition have its way with your wallet and convince you of your greatness. Often, it’s enough to touch the covers. Some smooth and shiny, some ridged and indented. Most are unread and cherished. Most are over-designed, you think. You’ve been known to say, The cover is the first poem in the book. Whenever you set yourself to read – usually, and to your detriment, allowing too long a time – something taps you on the shoulder and shows you things that you must hold at bay. Tomorrow’s sprint to the office. A slip up from years ago, yet to be fully forgiven. Your spouse’s handwriting on the grocery list, intimately mixed with yours. When reading, all of those things go in the pocket at the back of your notebook. Close but away.

Back in June, we opened a submission call for the next flight of bus poems. The theme for this round was “Local Harvest”, and WOW did we ever get a good response! Thanks to all those who took a chance, made themselves vulnerable, and submitted their work! The competition was tough, but we picked the “creme of the crop”, and these four winners will have their poetry flying on the next round of bus poems on The Poetry Route, beginning at the end of September:

If you happen to find yourself on a transit vehicle this fall, take a moment to look up at the placards. Yes, you will see advertisements, but you’ll also see the words of your fellow citizens. Perhaps, one day, you will draw your pen and nudge your words towards theirs.