An Imperfect Glass

Today in the taxi I picked up this guy on the Upper East Side, and he wanted to go to Spring Street and Washington Street. He had a blue ice pack on his head.

I crossed the park to Broadway to the West Side Highway to Clarkson Street to his address. For 20 minutes, he was yelling about the traffic, though it was light, as his intensity continued.

I wondered if his wound was self-inflicted, an accident, or something else. I could see how he might make a person lose their composure.

After a while driving eight hours a day, the driver and the car become one. It is not unlike being a person—moving forward on a one-way that is irreversible and pre-determined. I instinctively compute the spaces around the car and move faster—mirror in the mirror—then only briefly letting my eyes meet his eyes.


Sean Singer is the author of Discography (Yale University Press, 2002), winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, selected by W.S. Merwin, and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America; Honey & Smoke (Eyewear Publishing, 2015); and Today in the Taxi (Tupelo Press, 2022). He runs a manuscript consultation service at


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