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Manhattan Morning: Taxi Driver from Bangladesh
by Patrick T. Randolph
He drove me from downtown Manhattan to La Guardia,
All the while we communicated through the rearview mirror—
Our eyes focused on the sing song of our voices—
We swapped stories—old friends reunited at their favorite pub.
He was from Bangladesh, his excitement growing
When he’d mention his daughter and his wife.
He’s been waiting three years for their VISA to be approved,
Still no sign of their arrival, “God they slow, so slow, that INS,”
He hissed and swerved to get in the departure lane leading
To the airport entrance, “God they slow... you know
My daughter be four soon, Why do they take so long?
Families are families, together they should—be together.”
I wanted ask him if I could see a photo of his wife and child,
But we were already outside the Northwest loading zone.
I looked at his deep, coffee, brown eyes one last time in the mirror,
Something about them seemed more familiar to me than
My own. In the past twenty-five minutes we had shared
Details of our lives; it appeared that somehow we’d
Known each other all along. I should have tipped him more,
Given him something to show my appreciation.
It all occurred to me too late. He was already off down
The street, looking for another passenger. I put the receipt in
My pocket, grabbed my suitcase and travel bag. For the rest
Of the morning I’d visit with his eyes in that rearview mirror,
Trying to recall when and where I’d met him before, trying
To recall the echo of his soul and its voice of timeless travel.