September 26, 2018

David Mason

A CABBIE IN AMERICA

He was from Rwanda, from Senegal—
there had been much motion in his life.
And did he miss his country? All
the time, and yet he lived here with his wife

and children, who were very good at school.
I said I’d always dreamed of Africa
and wondered if he thought me an old fool
for saying so. No, no, but it was far.

So many things were far, so many things
we wished for for our families
were far. And we were men, not kings.
He’d spoken French since he was three

and now the French was also far,
his tongue was struggling with American.
Once, he too wished to be a writer.
But couldn’t he go to school again?

It’s not too late, I told him as I paid
and finger-signed his little screen.
But how did I know whether it was late,
or half of what this gentle man had seen?

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018

__________

David Mason: “I write from the margins, and I am interested in people who live in the margins. The anecdote behind this poem is true, the cab driver I met in Colorado Springs. I hope I run into him again. All my life I have known and lived among immigrants of one sort or another, and this kind and gentle man, whatever history had driven him here, had a lightness of manner that I loved.” (web)

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