Thus spoke Proteus, and I was broken hearted as I heard him. --The Odyssey Between the airport and this latest of my half-inhabited cities, a dead stretch of smokestacks burns tanks full of fuel, dredged up out of disappeared sea beds. A bald man as dark as the dark in a closet sells giant pink bears under tarp at the edge of a parking lot. His head’s a tethered planet. Between it and the apartment where my parents’ antique table waits for the next unknown city is the silence in this taxi, the Where are you from of tree shadows on brownstones. I recognize them from dreams. Raindrops on windshields: I recognize you. Who left the son of a sea god in charge of answering all our questions, and only if we hold him with both hands? He takes the shape of taped plastic curtains that keep families a secret on streets we drive down just this once. He takes every shape. And when we catch him all our questions sieve to one: How to get home? In my hands he turns to sea foam and cold mornings. 13th and Race, a woman’s toothed voice breaks into the taxi’s static, Number Eight. Someone must be leaving or returning again, shore like the glint of an insect wing in the distance. Are ten years a long time? I asked an 80 year-old man in a hotel this morning. Yes, he said, as if the answer had been obvious. Odysseus would have been happy enough to stay with Calypso, or on an island eating petals of forgetfulness. The man driving this taxi is the rosy dawn. The well-cloaked god. The twelve lost ships. The man driving this taxi is from Somalia and his children are fast asleep there. In the passenger seat, a half-pint of milk sloshes on its side; in the broken open glove compartment, a bottle of hot sauce is almost empty. What’s recognized slides through our strangers’ goodbyes onto the black leather of the taxi’s back seat. Where are you from becomes a rock in a pocket, as easy to keep as framed pictures. In a year I won’t even have lived here.