Rules for the Bus

by Eric Ode
Said our driver in September
as we climbed aboard the bus,
“There are rules you must remember.
Number one, you do not cuss.
Do not squirm and do not wiggle.
Do not squeak and do not squawk.
Do not laugh and do not giggle.
Better yet, don’t even talk.
Do not ever let me catch you
with your feet out in the aisle.
Sit as rigid as a statue
with a stiff and silent smile.
And you will not wear your mittens,
and you will not wear a mask.
And you will not bring your kittens,
and you shouldn’t even ask.
And you will not play with bubbles
or a yo-yo or balloon.
And for causing me such troubles,
you will get them back in June.
Now the day is here. Begin it
with the words I have to say.
Kindly take a seat this minute,
and let’s have a pleasant day.”
Well, I listened very closely
to the messages I heard,
and in all this time I’ve mostly
followed each and every word.
I have tried to pay attention,
but of this, I must confess:
There’s a rule he didn’t mention,
and today it caused a mess.
It is not as if I planned it
with an evil attitude.
I am not that underhanded,
and I don’t mean to be crude.
But it causes quite a fuss,
and it might even be unlawful
to have climbed aboard the bus
when you have stepped in something awful.


Text © Eric Ode, reprinted from My Teacher's In Detention published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Stephen Carpenter. Any copying or use of this poem or illustration without consent is unlawful.

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