I see her back her car outside.
She never offers me a ride.
I go the same way she is going,
but she passes, still unknowing.
After ten long years, I stand
making no sign with head or hand.
My legs are tired. My back is bent.
My footsteps follow where she went.
It takes two minutes to go by car.
I take an hour to go that far.
If she knew, perhaps she’d say,
“Would you like a ride today?”
She would have rolled her window down
to offer me a ride to town.
I’d dust my clothes and step inside,
grateful, at long last, for the ride.
And at the bottom of the hill,
as though, perhaps, she’d had her fill,
She’d say, “I’m turning left from here.”
And I’d assemble all my gear,
and give my thank-you, even though
I need to go where she will go.
Charity goes just so far,
I think, as I exit the car.
I live about two-thirds of the way up a very tall mountain in Mexico, and often as I drive down to the main road, I give a ride to whomever I encounter walking down the cobblestones—especially the women, most of whom work as housekeepers in the houses in my fraccionamiento. But now and then when I am in a hurry or when I see a man suspicious-looking or dusted by his labors, I drive on by. Then I wonder what he is thinking as I guiltily observe him in the rear vision mirror.