It was nothing special, really, an overcast bus
making a non-descript journey: a sort of euphemistic ride —
the white-coated driver, the passengers chattering
about simple things, but in a way that caused examiners
to give cold stares or shake their heads, and recommend
this humane transfer to where there had been a party,
the night before, celebrating the 10,000th successful treatment:
in a sizeable heap lie empty bottles, piled against the bewilderingly
high walls. Soon, this new lot alights, meet more people in white
coats (who, to each other): “Are you still drunk?” “May I remind
you that this is important work.” “Come here, take a look at this one.”
“I don’t believe it, gold fillings! A family treasure! What a waste!”
Loosened bunting chases dead leaves across the gravel yard
as each traveller enters a large, sun-lit room. Then the door
closes, tightly. Their final destination piped in on thunder
from a truck engine, thickening clouds on weakening breaths.
Every passenger returns home — a name stuffed with random ashes,
an identical crematory urn filled from darkened skies.
Ben Hession is a Wollongong based writer. His poetry has been published by Eureka Street, International Chinese Language Forum, Cordite Poetry Review, Verity La, Mascara Literary Review and Bluepepper, as well as the Live Poets anthology Can I Tell You A Secret? Ben’s poem, ‘A Song of Numbers’, was shortlisted for the 2013 Australian Poetry Science Poetry award. Ben is also a music journalist and is involved with community broadcasting.