My brother was in a motorcycle accident.

I learned about it in a dream. I tried to change it to a car because he’d just learned to drive, and it would have made more sense, but the dream wouldn’t budge. It was so intense that I woke up and went to the kitchen to tell a friend. We were in the Canary Islands, in a fishing village called Sardina where the men sat out on the sea wall all day, and the women hauled things up and down the road. There had been storms, but it was a sunny day, and the banana trees planted in trenches carved into the volcanic rock glistened, green flashing on the gray hillside.

We caught the minibus—they called it the mini wawa—to the telephone office in Los Palmas where I waited for an operator to place an overseas call. I was calling for money. My stepmother answered. She said, “Your brother is alright.”

In my dream, my brother was in a bed in a hospital hallway. I had been reading Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward, and the hallways of his Soviet hospital were filled with the dead and dying. I asked my brother why he didn’t have a room. He said, “I’m lucky. You should see what’s happening in there.” He nodded toward a door.

My stepmother said he was in a motorcycle accident that morning. He was riding to school with a friend. His friend ran a stop sign. They got hit by a car, and the gas tank exploded. My brother caught fire. He rolled in the grass to put it out as we learned to do in school if we were ever on fire. His friend died in the O.R. My brother was outside in the hallway. I learned about this later.

My stepmother said she’d send the money by American Express. I came out of the telephone compartment and paid for the call. Actually I paid in advance and went back to the cashier to settle up. I told my friend about the call. “That was your dream,” he said. “That was your dream exactly.” He ticked it off point by point.


I told my brother about the dream when I got home that summer, about the motorcycle and how I tried to change it to a car but the dream wouldn’t let me. I told him about the bed in the hallway and what he said in the dream.

“Well, you got that right,” he said.

We never spoke of it again.

Poems by Fleming Meeks have appeared or are forthcoming in the American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review Online, New Ohio Review and The Yale Review. He worked for 30 years as a financial journalist, including six as executive editor at Barron’s. He can be seen in Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, now streaming on Netflix and Amazon.

Photo by Therese Brown