All the Wrong Lessons

I met a man on the bus today.

I started making conversation,

“Isn’t it funny how we are strangers,

Yet have something in common?

And isn’t it funny how if we’d ever talk,

We’d never mention that what’s in common?”

The man looked at me,

“Are you a tourist?”

I said, “nah,

Just a writer.”

The man smiled,

“Ah, a tourist of the soul, then.”

I was inclined to object that statement;

I don’t have a soul, Sir.

But then I thought, maybe

That’s what makes me into a tourist after all,

And so instead, I just said,

“A tiger is a tiger, Sir. Not a lamb.”

The man laughed,

“They don’t even share a diet!”

I liked him,

“I have this terrible feeling

I just said something stupid.”

“Hi, I’m Carmen Lucille.”

The man shook my left hand,

“You shouldn’t be giving a name like that to strangers.”

I pulled my hand back,

“I didn’t. You teach me

All the wrong lessons,”

I shrugged.

“All the wrong lessons?” the man asked,

“That would mean I’d kissed you!”

I said,

“Only if you didn’t want to kiss me.”

And so he got up,

And bent over.

And kissed me,

“And… This is me.”

He walked to the door,

“Never stop travelling, Carmen,”

And got off the bus.

I had tears in my eyes.

We were only two strangers travelling,

And so we’d never mention that what was in common.

“A tiger is a tiger, not a lamb,”

Even if they share an entire kingdom.

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