• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 11

A Nightmare

We took the Interstate to Grandmama’s
house every morning when I was a boy
so Mama could get to work on time. Then
my Grandmama would take me on to school.
You know how when you’re driving down the road,
the morning moon makes everything seem new
and full of possibilities? It was
a day like that. I wore my puffy coat
and high-top sneakers every day to school.
My friends would pump the pump on my shoe tongue
and pick on me because I didn’t have
a Starter jacket. Anyway, we drove
to where the highway splits into two roads.
At that point all the traffic had slowed down.
I still remember Mama’s hand outstretched
to back the seatbelt up. “A mother’s love
and instinct,” as she said. Her college ring
is still so vivid in my memory.
The stone, whatever it was, was as black
as blood. A pickup truck caught up with us
in the lane to our left. We saw it come
and match our speed. I could not see the man
or woman driving even though we passed
it since the traffic started moving then.
Sometimes a driver leans the seat way back
so that it looks like no one’s at the wheel.
However, when I looked inside the cab,
some how, some way, I don’t remember now,
I saw the driver’s seat unoccupied
except for what appeared to be a pool


A Nightmare

of blood. The sentient blood was in control
of the truck. Mama grasped what I had seen
and covered my eyes with the hand that bore
the college ring set with the stone of blood.