DRIVING WHILE BLACK
OJ's dog Hoops' blue eyes burned
a cold arctic rage,
as if promising eternal torment,
in a face the ghost-white of an opossum;
made me nervous the first time I saw him,
even if he was essentially a gentle animal.
Driving into the glare of the sun,
OJ told me, he missed the traffic light sliding
from yellow to red, and right away
the gotcha whoop of a police siren
brought him to a stop.
"License, registration," the cop demanded
when OJ rolled down the window.
Fumbling in the glove box,
OJ mentioned the blinding glare.
He'd been on his way to the dog park
to give Hoops his morning run.
As if on cue, Hoops poked his face
out of the rolled-down window.
"What kind of a dog is that?"
He handed back OJ’s papers,
considering the blue-eyed dog.
"Part Alaskan husky, part Boxer," OJ answered.
"Some other breeds, too."
"Just a warning." The cop pushed away from the window,
patting Hoops’ nose, rubbing an ear.
"Yeah, that sun is blinding, isn’t it?"
"It was having a blue-eyed blond that saved me,"
OJ told me later, laughing.
"I couldn’t be that bad, could I?"
Charles reads "Driving While Black":
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Charles confesses: "While no doubt seething with the indignation and injustice of a lot of the unfair police treatment in our country, the racial profiling and the outright brutality in certain instances, my brother-in-law OJ (not that OJ) maintains a sardonic sense of humor in the face of it. It’s a good attitude to have under the circumstances."
The Potomac and is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore.