by Julie Bourbeau
I sit on the inside seat, Salome gets in next. I motion Petrus Antonius toward the seat across the aisle, but he looks confused, and the three of us squeeze into two seats on the bus. I am at a wild game park in Namibia.
Salome dances a little to the music piped in over the loud speakers of the bus, and I join her, displaying less rhythm in my whole body than she has in one smooth head bob. Petrus looks up at us shyly, but he’s embarrassed, and looks out the window again.
I grow tired and stop dancing. Salome points out the window and starts to identify the animals on our safari drive.
“Goat,” she says, pointing to a cow.
I give Petrus my notebook and pen. He draws a zebra and his mother. His self portrait towers over them in the sunny scene. There’s more safari on his page than we see in person.
I want elephants, giraffe, every creature to wander around outside our windows. I want the animals to know that these children on the bus haven’t been here before. I want the animals to be the ones dancing in African rhythms.
We drive across nothing, and then the bus slows. There’s something in the great distance. It comes closer. Disposable cameras poise outside the windows.
“Goats,” I finally say to Salome. Cows.