—for Rosemary Felton

Lucky black man in my dream
drove me up the vast turnpike
in his galactic taxi-cab:
all through the night we were headed home.

A rabbit’s foot hung from the mirror,
an emerald glittered at his ear,
he hummed an easy-going tune—
“Sail on, Dupree, sail on sail on…”

Our voyaging was south to north.
We crossed a gash where Jersey was
and threaded a tiny river town
whose streets were crooked and thick with mist.

Stopped at a bar for a glass of beer.
The place was jammed, they were singing songs,
my daughter was there, quick-stepping with friends—
she danced up and took the black man’s hand.

He gave me a wink, and said, “Come along,
the last lap’s ahead, not a moment to lose,
we’ll make it together before morning comes.
You hadn’t a friend, but now you’re strong.”

Then under the river and huge with speed
we stabbed through the dark like a striking snake
and surfaced in Manhattan easy and free
before a man or a house was awake!

Lucky black man in my dream
drove me through the night-hushed streets
in his dawning taxi-cab
as the lights changed red to green…

All the lights changed red to green—
we never stopped, we never paused,
but crossed the city we had won
returning to the dream of home.

This Issue

November 22, 1979