Mathieu Cailler

Pork Chops

Some forest, some highway,
Some construction, a slice
Of charm here and there

This Greyhound bus
Rumbles in the Northeast

And I sit with my head
Tilted against
The cold window with
New England sweeping by

Two passengers speak
In the row in front of me
A girl and a mother

I don’t know what they
Look like
But their voices are gentle
A contrast to the pull
Of the diesel motor

The girl says she is two people

That sometimes she is jealous
Of everyone, wants a better life
Than others, wants to be prettier
And more popular and conquer

Other times, she hopes everyone
Is happy at their homes, a favorite
Song on the dial,
Pork chops frying in butter
In a skillet on the stove
Sharing a table with
whatever matters

This Greyhound bus
Is supposed to take me
from Boston to Bangor

But today it makes an
Unexpected stop, too

Mathieu Cailler is the author of six books. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in numerous national and international publications, most notably in The Saturday Evening Post and the Los Angeles Times. He is the recipient of a Shakespeare Award, a Short Story America Prize, and a New England Book Festival Award. Heaven and Other Zip Codes, his debut novel and most recently published book, has been hailed “a postmodern masterpiece” by Midwest Book Review and was named the winner of the 2021 Los Angeles Book Festival.