swerve, then steady

I left the front door wide open, swinging on hinges.
Breath, mine, rapid, blending in with the fog, this weird red fog.
Driving down I-44
Diving down and down on I-44
Looking for smooth gliding, looking for straight driving-
Bloodshot eyes, mine, almost crash into a clown car in the next lane-
I swerve, then steady.
Clown car? Whatever, I made it.
Then, there are giant spiders, purple and blistery.
White knuckles on the gray steering wheel, mine, swerve then steady.
Safe. Made it.

Then, a rabid four-headed snake, taking up the entire highway.
Blue fingertips, mine, swerve, then steady.
All good. Made it.
Bloodshot eyes, heavy enough to close,
Mine? I’ve gotta make it.
Gotta make it back home. Gotta make it to home.
I left home, I left home. Door swinging on hinges, I left it like that.
Bloodshot eyes, not mine, but a red face that covers up my windshield.
I’m blinded by this red, bug-eyed fog of a face-
I feel a scream, but it doesn’t come out – it stays in bed, stays at home.
Dirty and unclipped nails, mine, swerve, then steady.
Whew. Made it.
Driving down the I-44.
Maybe smooth sailing, maybe straight nailing.
Wait, what? Nailing, railing, bailing – I should bail.
Bail back home.
The black road, yellow lines, tick-tick-ticking under tires, mine.
Tick-tick-ticking, from what? Never heard that before.
Dark driving, 3 a.m. No more spiders, no more snakes, no more fa-
There’s another face.
Eyes more bloodshot than mine, more bloodshot than my mother’s after a night of talking to monsters.
Mother, she’s home, she’s so afraid of snakes. I left home.
The face, the eyes!
These eyes, I see them in my rearview mirror, floating above my backseat,
Floating in my backseat, like a child I forgot about, a child with a monster face.
It’s red, I thought I swerved this! I thought I steadied this!
No, different face, different blood, feels the same though.
Breath, mine, catching, telling my hands to move, to fix it.
I can’t swerve, I can’t steady, it’s in my car.
Bloodshot eyes, mine, dart from street to face to street to face.
The face is smiling, keeps smiling, keeps whispering something, repeating it,
What is it? Ears, mine, straining. Like when the pastor, like when my mother, told me how to redeem my unworthy soul, I’m straining.

Tick tick tick, tick tick tick

The whispers from the face keep me racing racing racing,
Down the I-44, driving in the fog.
Hot tears, mine, on my cheek, I whisper back
I gotta make it home, gotta make it home
Like a plead to this face, a plead to its monsters it sent for me to swerve, then steady away from.
I see my exit.

Tick-tick-tick, it just smiles.

I see my exit and I really gotta, really otta, never go back home.
The red fog face in my backseat keeps smiling, keeps ticking me along to red fog highway.
Like an instructional lullaby, the ticking makes me listen, says shut up about gotta make it home.
From under my eyelids, red fog, black fog, red fog. Smiling, me.
White knuckles, blue fingertips, those unclipped nails, I can’t see them when they unclaw from the steering wheel, unhinge themselves like a door swung wide open.

tick         tick          tick

it’s slower, no more racing racing racing,
no more gotta make it home, I can’t see yellow lines from inside my red fog eyelids.
I left home. Steering wheel, absent of hands, it swerves,
it steadies.


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