Coal Mine Pickle Jar

by Chad Smith

It's doing nothing for me

No reaction

Hit the fast forward button

Still nothing

I can hear the music and sound sped up

Hit the fast forward button again

Still nothing

At this speed he is being rough with her


We are in the school cafeteria now

I see him sitting there

I am happy he is here

He is excited to see me too

His long blond hair seems clean today

Still ratty

He is wearing his holey cardigan sweater

Striped shirt

His chin has stubble and is that?


A smile

So rare for him

I set my food tray down at his table

I ask him what he's been up to

He says it's been rough for him

I say, “I hear you man”

He is happy that I have been writing

Doing the good work

I stop and he looks sad

This can't be

You're not here

You blew your head off in a tool shed

And then


Shed tool a in off head your blew you

Here not you're

Be can't this

Sad looks he and stop I

Work good the doing

Writing been have I that happy is he


I say, “I hear you man”


I realize I am dreaming

Must try to wake myself up

I can't move

If I can scream then that will wake me up




I am in my grandparent's house

On the staircase to the basement

But this isn't my grandparent's house

It is a house I have never been in before

But I keep coming back to it in my dreams

I have woken up in another dream

The same house

We can climb up and hide inside the walls


My mother tells me

When she was a girl

She had nightmares

About a small wrinkled old man

Who was like a troll with one long pointy fingernail

That he would use to stick in her bellybutton

Tickling her bellybutton with his long pointy fingernail

And she couldn't move

Couldn't get away

I can't move

I try to move my arms

I try to move my legs

If I can scream then that will wake me up

I scream


Do you remember seeing the sun in your dreams?

It is warm

I am lying in the field looking up at the clouds

You are here with me and you love me again

We are happy

A warm peace pours over us

I hold your hand

We should stay here forever


I am awake now

Damp with sweat

He swore to us that he didn't have a gun

And now we know that was a lie