The Goth Girl on the Bus by Nicole Yurcaba
Sits facing forward her headphones inserted discreetly into her ears, which are covered by her raven-black straight hair; listens to HIM’s Razorblade Romance every day on the ride home from school—in the mornings, she listens to Type O Negative’s October Rust.
The goth girl on the bus sits in the very last seat— she’s a junior and she can; sits in the front row of English class: she has a crush on our English teacher; he, like her, recites TS Eliot, Byron, those other sad, suicidal (or nearly) British poets; he, like her, wears black all the time.
The goth girl on the bus sketches wilting flowers, graveyards, crying girls sitting beneath trees—their fishnets ripped, their skirts tattered, their eyeliner streaked; sits alone at lunch, sketching & sketching using Prisma markers in a thick, spiral-bound sketchbook her grandmother bought her.
The goth girl on the bus once found a dead black snake in her locker—the football players put it in there on April Fool’s Day; they never even got detention; the goth girl got sent to the principal’s office for her ankh earrings (our history teacher found them offensive; she’s a fundamentalist Christian), her black corset-lacing trench coat (our Trig teacher thought the goth girl hid drugs and guns in the coat).
The goth girl on the bus won first place in a writing contest at school for a story about a girl who lay lifeless by her family’s swimming pool, observing her family’s reaction for her this-life dead eyes; won first-place in a county-wide art contest for an ink drawing of a skull with a dead rose blossoming from the right eye.
The goth girl on the bus makes straight A’s; studies alone on the gym bleachers during Community Morning time before we’re released to homeroom; never receives a carnation on Valentine’s Day from the Student Council fundraiser; only attends dances because her grandmother makes her.
The goth girl on the bus has two friends in school: our high school’s lone black girl, our English teacher; has the highest average in Trig class—our teacher calls her “Sasquatch” because of her Herman Munster-like platform shoes.
The goth girl on the bus wears torn fishnets, a pair of Army jump boots she bought at Goodwill, a camo mini skirt with an Army airborne patch sewn on the left cargo pocket; wears a black leather choker with an o-ring hanging from the center and three studs on each side of the o-ring.
The goth girl on the bus lives at 119 West Market Street; gets off the bus at 4:15 PM; walks a small concrete pathway between two green metal posts stripped of their gate; at the porch, a small white dog licks the goth girl’s hand, then barks twice to announce that the girl arrived home. True story: I don’t even know her name.
Nicole A. Yurcaba is a Ukrainian-American poet and essayist, teaches at Bridgewater College where she also serves as the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival’s Assistant Director. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Lindenwood Review, Chariton Review, Junto Magazine, Artemis, Still: The Journal, and many other online and print venues.