An Ode to the Yeonnam School Bus

By Jess McKay, a first-year ETA in Sejong


Sarah Coldiron, “School Buses,” Mokpo

Each morning, Its wheels trace a map of the city
Only taking breaks when It sees small feet
through the corners of Its eyes.

Hana, Dul, Set,1 It counts in Its head, as It takes a big breath,1. One, two, three
welcoming the footsteps aboard.

Some of the footsteps follow bodies,
Some bodies follow footsteps.

It hums to match the parade of pitter patter.
Together, they create a morning hymn,
until they reach the school.

On Its way, It passes
a coffee shop that is still waking up,
a city bus that is running late,
and a crosswalk with a crooked spine.

It does not have time to insa2 to each one,2. Say hello
So It takes a mental note for tomorrow.


Anna Yamamuro, “Menu,” Bukchon
On the outskirts of the city,
It arrives just in time.
It takes a deep breath and
releases the pitter patter from the inside.

Once the tiny toes hop
into some slippers,
The hymn is replaced with stillness,
a void of sound.

Sometimes It grows jealous of the library.
The thought of snooze buttons, solace, and continuous silence
inch It closer to turning in a two weeks’ notice.
How serene it must be, It thinks.

But, then It remembers,
The laughs and chatter.
How the morning hymn would sound slightly off
without that pitter patter.