Poet’s Corner: The Night Taxi 

It’s been snowing for hours
and the only people on this street tonight
are you and some woman who was also
on the train late, and the driver of the beat-up
looking Taxi waiting patiently for a fare.

Then he’s driving like a madman, and when
he skids to the address of the woman, she
scolds she’s been terrified. He laughs and says,
“I’m a cowboy!” His skinny legs in his jeans
slamming down on the gas pedals as the taxi
slides around the banks of snow, just you
and him now, aiming for your home. He
opens his window to let the crisp cold air swirl
in, flecked with snow, and he tells you how
he sleeps on the couch of a buddy he stays
with, he used to drink too much, and somebody
owes him money, at least you think he said that
but your heart clenched at that last skid, so maybe not.

He’s seen wolves that everyone says must have
been coyotes since we’re in the suburbs. He turns
to look at you, they were wolves, and he’s
seen bobcats, too. You ask him to face the road
as you tell him you believe him, and you do,
as he’s handed you this slice of night that he owns
which might be the only thing he has got,
but it’s enough right now, this portion, the taxi
skidding down the slick roads, his fearless cowboy
laugh, and the way the street lights are shining
on the snow like bits of broken stars.

Top photo: Bigstock