UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY


MATHER SCHNEIDER

6234 N. KOLB AVE

It was dumb luck I got
the call at all
and then I couldn’t find the address
until I saw a man standing out
in the sunny road
waving his arms at my cab.

He had a brown dog in a carrier
and he put that in the back seat of my cab and
then he got in front.
I took him to the airport
which was almost an hour ride.
He told me he was going on his
first vacation in 22 years.
On the way we talked about
politics and film and academics
and health care and
children and wives, sports, we covered
it all, getting
nowhere, agreeing with each other,
laughing.

When I pulled into the airport his
phone rang
and someone on the other side
told him his father just had a
heart attack.
His father lived on
the other side of town.
He sat there next to me in the cab
at DEPARTURES.
“Turn around” he said,
“Take me to the hospital.”

It was a much quieter ride to the hospital.
At one point his phone rang again.
He listened for a few seconds
and then hung up.
“He’s dead,” he said to me,
“You can slow down.”

At the hospital it came
to 120 bucks.
He paid without a sound and
even tipped me.
Then he walked away.
“Hey,” I said, “What about
your dog?”
“Shit,” he said,
turned around and came back to the
cab.
He hauled the thumping dog cage out
and set it on the hot
concrete driveway.
“Sorry Sammy,” he said.

I smiled at him and drove slowly
away,
wondering where
the next call would
come from.
You could make an educated guess
and experience helped
but in the end you
just never
knew.


Mather Schneider is a 39 year old unemployed cab driver living in Tucson with a Mexican girl. He has no college degree and has won no awards. He has a full length book coming out by Interior Noise Press.







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