The Tricycle Taxi Driver by Renato Rosaldo

Please accept my gift, I say.

In Lagawe I own the only
tricyle taxi, orange, yellow, red,
fresh paint, curving lines.

After noon the soldiers arrive breathless,
say an American woman fell
from the precipice near Mungayang.

At dusk they arrive, Ifugaos, a few men,
two women, one carries the baby
of the American woman in a yellow backpack.

I shall be the one.

In a rattan hammock tied to a pole
Ifugao men bring the woman’s body.
The American man shoulders

his five-year-old son,
his walk heavy, shirt soaked,
face streaked with dirt,

his tears behind red eyes,
then he mumbles,
Taxi, and steps toward me.

He places his two sons on the seats,
then sits between them, offers to pay.
I’ve come here to give him a ride.

Please accept my gift, I say.


978-0-8223-5661-5_prFrom The Day of Shelly's Death: The Poetry and Ethnography of Grief by Renato Rosaldo.

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