Magic bus driver in the Covid screening bus,
you don’t take my ticket through the low slot
of the plastic barrier that cuts the wattage
of your brilliant smile.
You take my medicare card, sanitized, in order.
In return, you, the driver, give me a ticket.
The three magic questions,” Do you have symptoms?, Have you been
in contact ….?” The right answers, any answers grant me admission to the
bus with no seats.
Nurses (later I learn they are not nurses) decked out in Covid regalia on the
hottest day of the year, wait to test me in the bus with no seats.
Four cubicles. A figure in a sanitary burka peers at me.
A Quebec scandal!
“anglais ou francais, Madame?” Through the barrier of our masks and
my diminished hearing, we arrive at the compromise of “franglais”.
a ping-ping of both languages in which we are both fluent.
A long swab down my throat elicits a discrete gag on my part.
Then the nose. “Sit still” I tell myself, “If Trump can do this every morning,
you can do it this once.”
All done and I am released through the back door of the magic bus.
Like a sheep guided through the “it’s for your own good” dip,
out I go into the blazing parking lot of my beloved library.
Why did I test? As we say in Quebec, “Le coeur a ses raisons.”
Magic bus driver, stop giving tickets! Take the wheel.
Let the wheels of your bus grow light, transparent, buoyant,
Slam down the gas pedal and carry us away from
Montreal, plague city, city of wary looks, masks, no touch, death.
The next day an email. Negative. For today.