The Young Ones

Every morning,
this group of three kids hop on the bus.
The two boys are about 7.
The girl – the oldest – might be 10.
She’s in charge.
Handles the money,
dispenses the transfers,
chooses the seats.
When I see them I say to myself,
they’re too young to be out in the city.
They should be building tree forts
in the river valley,
swinging from branches,
plucking the lilacs.
Today, they forgot to pull the cord
and missed their stop.
The driver let them out down the block.
Before they left the bus,
they looked back at me
(five workdays under my eyes).
You should be plucking lilacs, too
they said.
See you out there
I said.