Uber Driver: A Poem for Current Times

Uber Driver 

By Karrington Garland 

the black boy is an uber driver

& he speaks little

& breathes as if he’s not even breathing

 

while the low murmur of the radio station drowns out everything

except my heart beat & the whites of his eyes

he’s a ghost

& he offered me juicy fruit chewing gum

i politely declined with a smile on my face

trying not to laugh at the randomness that was this day

 

wondering how i found myself here 

riding in my first uber down the bustling streets of capital boulevard

with a ghost of a man who’s ashen skin is black as night 

& looks as if it’s taken more beatings than it can actually handle

 

as i gazed out the window i wondered how his life had been so far

 

i wondered if he was a college student

i wondered if his mother missed him

i wondered if he knew how dangerous his skin color was

i wondered if he pretended he was anything but dangerous

 

how did he live with himself knowing

the after effects of trumps america are after him

trumps america hated people like him people like me

 

i spent our thirty minute car ride questioning him

without even moving my mouth. it was as if he knew.

answering me with slight head nods

as he bobbed to the quiet base of the radio

or stark silence, stillness & a change of the radio station

 

as if he did not know how he got here either

like he couldn’t make up his mind on what he wanted his ghost to tell me

 

at the end of our journey, when we had reached my destination

i still knew nothing about him

knew not what to call him but black boy

& yet i felt as if i had known his ghost for years