Waiting: ZOB, Munich, October 2015

Siegestor. “Dedicated to victory, destroyed by war, urging peace”


Everyone is waiting for a bus to arrive.

Perhaps one to board or one to greet.

It may be filled with friends and family,

arriving to stay or for a quick visit.

It may be the ticket to an adventure

in a far off, distant land.

Or it may carry with it the promise of

life lived on a ledge less precarious.

But we’re all waiting for the next journey,

whatever it may be,

and in doing so, saying goodbye

to the journey we’re leaving.


It’s a cold October day and the sky is grey and overcast,

but the chilly breeze can’t be felt in the open air waiting area.

Acrid smoke curls from a cigarette freshly lit,

giving the bus station the stale scent of anxious impatience.

A young man looks down at his ticket, folds and unfolds it,

checking it once, twice, and yet again as if he can’t believe what he reads.

A woman clutches a large, plastic grocery bag against her torso

as if her only possessions in this world were kept therein.

And a little girl wears a parka, carrying its weight on her small shoulders

as if it were unfamiliar and new to do so.


A small boy runs through the bus station,

weaving through the heavy backpacks,

brightly-colored hardshell suitcases,

bone-tired passengers, and stained concrete pillars.

A toboggan one size too big keeps his ears warm

as he begins to chase after a fat,

passenger-fed pigeon who labors to take flight.

The bird follows an unsteady path,

barely flying above the other waiting travelers,

trying to escape what might befall it if it stays on the ground.

The boy laughs for a short moment, then gives up his game

to sit next to his sleeping brother, cousin, or friend.

His mother, grandmother, aunt, or guardian

says something in hushed Arabic,

then clutches the grocery bag closer to her chest.

His smile fades and he begins to wait too.