She sits, now, in the parking lot
Sometimes alone, often amidst those younger, sleeker.
As buses go, she is old, no longer useful, an expense.
It has not always been so.

She served for twenty-five years, faithfully, proudly.
Through ice, dust, wind, and heat she delivered her charges.
Some to work; some to shop; some to doctors.
She delivered them all safely, without complaint.

Then her duty changed,
Taken from the streets and the unforgiving schedule, and
Assigned to take senior ladies into her care,
Freeing them from being alone for a short few hours.

Her proud engine, her heart that gave her life,
Seemed to add strength to her grateful passengers.
They go together to the grocery store,
Vegetables, meat, food, necessary things.

Suddenly, no longer alone, they laugh and talk and live.
Seven listens and loves, being a part of them.
Happy to speed them to the store then home again,
Not knowing of their loneliness and pain.

But now, not knowing why, she sits.
The ladies are with her no more.
Her great heart still, but not dead, not yet.
Unseen men, who never drove, will decide her fate.

For years I drove this matron of the streets.
She kindly obeyed, gently reproved, tolerated foolishness.
Waiting patiently for the non-metal beings to return,
And laugh again.

There were times, however, when she asserted her will.
Refusing to start, demanding a man-thing bring her coolant.
Then, satisfied, roaring to life, eager to be gone.
I am grateful, to be a part, to belong.

Is it possible for a man to love a bus?
Men love trucks, music, guns.
I love this gentle, metal giant who sits waiting.
For what? More life? Or to meet a greasy man with a torch!

She is like us you know!
Her fate is the same as ours.
We work for years, then someone says “it’s time!”
No longer needed, unproductive, kind of embarrassing.

Now I go to the yard and pause to talk to her,
To touch her and remember our times together.
Passing her in one of her sisters I cannot stifle a wave.
She was and is a part of my life.

When retirement put me on the streets,
She welcomed with no strings, no questions,
No dismissing glances.
She seemed to say “come aboard, we will ride together!”

We wait together, she and I.
Friends.
I owe her, I miss her, I love her.
We’ll wait together!

When that day comes when faceless, calculating men decide,
It will hurt her, and me.
This is the thanks for twenty-five years?
Millions of miles, safety for thousands, doesn’t anything matter?

Ten O Seven is more than a bus, much more.
She is controlled strength, regal yet common.
I have always considered her a Queen,
But in reality, she is a friend.

She is stronger than I.
When it is time, it will be me hiding a tear.
She, always the lady,
Will go gently into that good night!