To a Man on the Greyhound Bus

Janet ruth heller

I wish I had jabbed
my elbow into your side
or kicked your sprawling legs
or smashed your probing hands
or driven my fingernails
into your eyes—

instead of politely removing
your arm from my thigh.

Janet Ruth Heller serves as president of the Michigan College English Association. She has published three books of poetry: Exodus (WordTech Editions, 2014), Folk Concert: Changing Times (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012), and Traffic Stop (Finishing Line Press, 2011); a book of literary criticism, Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama (University of Missouri Press, 1990); a middle-grade fiction chapter book for children, The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015); and a fiction picture book for children about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006; 4th edn. 2016), that has won four national awards. Heller’s website is