Volume 34, Number 1

Death Comes by Driving a Taxi

death cripples my feet and sends me out
to wait for the bus alone,
then comes by driving a taxi.
—Judy Grahn

someone was shouting call 911
as we struggled to pick her up
from the gritty wet sidewalk
it looked like another storm was brewing
and someone kept shouting 911

she was bleeding and torn
as we all were as we all are
marked as an emblem
for violence
we stood on the curb
watching the men lift her
onto the ambulance
as if she were a sacrifice
red lights bleeding into the rainy gutters

our hair plastered to our cheeks
our skin cold and wet
we sat together on the curb unmoving
as she rode away
holding ourselves closer
reliving her story of the taxi driver
and how he must have misunderstood
her call for a ride home
meant she was asking
to be fucked and beaten.

What ancient god infused men’s rule
and made their bodies such wild weapons?
What stone What knife
felt so sharply the hunger
for a woman’s blood?

It could have been us someone said
It should have been him said another
An eye for an eye I thought to myself
but whose eye?
whose blood?
and by what means?

—Susana Gonzales