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By Mariano Zaro

He tells me that his wife is pregnant,
he just learned about it.

He is the taxi driver,
I am the passenger.

This happens at five in the morning,
in a taxi, on my way to the Madrid airport.

The taxi driver is young, handsome,
probably as handsome as he will ever be.
He is going home after this ride, he says.
He cannot wait.

Everything has a higher purpose now,
I suppose;
the way he stops at traffic lights,
the way he rolls up the window.

He drives through the city—
Cibeles, Recoletos, Castellana—
and the city turns and collects cells, tissue,
cartilage, bones, lungs for this child.
Madrid is the big spinning wheel
of embryos and invagination.

It happened so fast, he says.
We did not know it was going to be so fast.

I want to ask him if he knew
exactly when the conception happened.
If he felt anything different,
a stronger pulse, almost painful,
in that region between anus and
scrotum, in that equinox of flesh.

I don’t ask anything,
I don’t think is appropriate.
So I say the things you say in these occasions:
Congratulations, all the best to you and your wife.
I watch him driving his smooth drive,
the one I will never drive.

When we arrive to the airport,
he helps me with my luggage and I thank him.
I pay, give him a tip. Suddenly he hugs me.
Have a good trip, he says.

I can’t tell if he knows what I am thinking,
what I want from him.

Previously Published in Askew.

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