SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Sweet Nothings by Sherine Elise Gilmour

Some mornings the bus is a miniature party.

Our words like streamers.

 

At each bus stop: a different home. A door opens

and a child with a ventilator is carried down.

 

At each stop, applause from all the mothers lucky enough

to ride the bus. “Go Sasha, go Sasha.” We compete

 

to catch the child’s attention. Who will hit the right tone?

The right volume. Right smile or word or phrase to make

 

the child notice and grin. The children who can walk do so

down the rubber yellow-lines of the bus, turned fashion runway.

 

We want them to strut. We call and hoot. We pout,

blow kisses. We are inappropriate

 

with our affections, nicknames, the way we touch their hands

like mini saviors, the passing of saints. The way we demand

 

high fives. “She’s better looking than Beyonce. Watch out for the

     boys.”

“Look at Jaden’s Micky Mouse sneakers. He’s so handsome today.”

 

The children are rained down on in every language.

For their clothing and their hair. For the toys

 

they are technically not allowed to bring onto the city-sanctioned   

     bus.

“Oh my! Is that Thomas? Is that Miss Piggy? Is that your blinky?”

 

“Look what Eduardo has today, his very own cellphone.

Mr. Businessman, that’s what you are.”

 

We give them futures, possible and improbable.

Proclamations: “Look at all these beautiful, blessed children.”

 

Excuses: “That’s okay, you don’t have to say “hi.”

Tender jibing: “Are you going to stay awake so we can see your

     eyes?”

 

And for my son, always, “How is my boyfriend this morning?”

These mothers smile their widest smiles

 

as if paparazzi are on the bus, as if it’s picture day every day.

I am slow to rise to this kind of excitement

 

but manage to say good morning. My son and I take our seats

in this moving cranking manual ignition diesel-tank theater of love.

 

Who are these women? I have never met any like them before.


Sherine Elise Gilmour graduated with an MFA in Poetry from New York University. Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and have appeared in Green Mountains Review, Many Mountains Moving, Oxford University Press, River Styx, So To Speak, Tinderbox, and other publications.

The Art of Instinct by Elizabeth Jacobson

Communion of Dust by Iris Jamahl Dunkle