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Tony Gloeggler: World of Wonders

These days, riding the city bus
is Jesse’s favorite activity. 
Even if he ends up getting 
a Ben and Jerry’s brownie
and two slices of Ken’s pizza 
where he eats the cheese 
while I munch on his crust, 
it’s the journey that matters. 
He always sits on the same spot
of the bench, patiently waits.
Whether it’s wintry and windy, 
sunny and steamy, he never moves 
to the shade or the glass shelter. 
He loves watching cars glide by, 
sliding his special pass in the slot 
to pay, sitting by a window, feeling 
the drum and hum beneath his feet. 
Giddy sounds bubble, tumble out 
of his mouth and everyone looks 
at him, then quickly turns away 
whenever I catch them staring.

In small cities, busses are filled 
mostly with people too poor 
to afford cars, old ladies muttering 
nonsense through clenched teeth, 
unemployed hung over guys 
and broken women heading 
to shelters with a toddler 
or two, and Jesse and me. Today 
the fattest woman I’ve ever seen
hauls herself onto the bus carrying 
a tiny child, a folded carriage. 
She plops down taking up two 
and a half seats. Nearby riders
scatter to the back as if a mortar 
shell just landed. She thanks them 
in a voice just beyond a whisper. 

The other riders are still sneaking
glances at Jesse and I wonder
what they would think if they knew
the whole story. They’d understand 
how I once loved his mom and took 
Jesse, five years old at the time, 
as my own. But even close friends 
can’t believe I travel so far to visit, 
wonder if he’s my biological son, 
did I get any mercy sex this time. No, 
I haven’t seen Helen in nearly two years. 
We set up, coordinate dates and times 
in emails as taut and terse as Raymond 
Carver characters. Jesse’s workers’ take 
me to/from the airport and in between 
it’s him and me for three days, and I 
always give thanks for my time with him.

Back on the bus, the woman’s son
bounces on her knee. Too young 
to talk, his head bops and shakes
like a bobble head. His brightly lit
eyes, excited and curious, settle 
on Jesse and his mouth grows 
into a giggle, shows the start of two
tiny front teeth. His mom snuggles 
him closer and lightly kisses the top 
of his head and her skin shines
like a halo. Later, when Jesse lifts 
my bags out of the trunk, starts
to walk back to the car, I ask for a hug
and he leans in, lends me his cheek
as usual. When I say, I meant a real hug, 
he extends his arms straight out 
like the wings of an airplane, a huge 
bird anxious for flight. But before 
he turns to walk away, I say no, 
this time I want a squeeze. He wraps 
his arms around me and I am filled
with wonder for the ten whole
seconds he can stand to hold me.




Copyright 2022 Tony Gloeggler. First published in Paterson Literary Review .

Tony Gloeggler is a life-long resident of NYC and managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 40 years. His many books include What Kind Of Man (NYQ Books 2020).

Tony Gloeggler

6 comments on “Tony Gloeggler: World of Wonders

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    August 27, 2022

    Beautiful 💖

    Like

  2. Rose Mary Boehm
    August 25, 2022

    Moving and powerful poem. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Barbara Huntington
    August 25, 2022

    Oh, I love this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. loranneke
    August 25, 2022

    Such a good Gloeggler poem! How the people he cared for for decades come alive in his poems!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      August 25, 2022

      yes, Tony’s poems have an effortless clarity, a vision in which kindness comes naturally, and service to others is a a joy.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 25, 2022 by in Opinion Leaders and tagged , , , , , .

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