Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Reservation Cab Driver

The Reservation Cab Driver

waits outside the Breakaway Bar
in the '65 Malibu with no windshield.

It's a beer a mile. No exceptions.

He picks up Lester FallsApart
who lives in the West End
twelve miles away; good for a half rack.

When Congress raised the minimum wage
the reservation cab driver upped his rates
made it a beer and a cigarette each mile.

HUD evicted him
so he wrapped himself in old blankets
and slept in the front seat of his cab.

When the BIA rescinded his benefits
he added a can of commodities for every mile.

Seymour climbed in the cab
said, this is a hell of a pony.
Ain't no pony, the reservation cab driver
said, it's a car.

During the powwow, he works 24 hours a day
gets paid in quilts, beads, fry bread, firewood.

3 a.m., he picks up Crazy Horse hitchhiking.
Where are you going, asks the reservation cab driver.
Same place you are, Crazy Horse answers
somewhere up the goddamn road.

Sherman Alexie............from The Business of Fancydancing


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