Hallucination No. 1

by Shaun Terry

Hard, charcoal-colored rubber rubbing, scraping off onto I-40,
driving ten miles over at 4:28 in the afternoon,
missing my tiny little baby girl.

Is this the best I can do?
Should I be leaving now,
like this?
Will she forgive me?
Will I forgive myself?

And then, the devil gets into me.

Hell’s hedgehog,
with its spiny, abysmal black skin of poisonous hard latex,
is bouncing along the road on all fours, like a toad,
about 50 yards in front of me.

I feel its danger through soft pricks to my skin,
changing my composition,
elongating each line of hair.
I feel the blood inside me
changing color, matching the poisoned darkness
of the danger outside.
The danger,
from whence it came.

The terrible little creature jumps at the hood of my car
and vanishes,
and I’m left feverishly shoving air through my face,
my skin suddenly reptilian,
and I’m wondering.

And then I think,
Maybe it’s not the devil.
Maybe it’s just me.