by Richard Jay Shelton

I lost my life one cold night

Passing from office to home,

I found myself alone.

Down a quiet street

Moving as on a track

Upon a dangerous predictable

Well-trodden path,

The flicker of curtained steady light,

Sheltering obscure lives,

Felt strange and distant,

Familiar yet vile and sickly,

Like upright muddy-yellow specters

Hovering above barren concrete

Sprouting black leafless trees.

The cluttered rhythmic cry of traffic

Filled the air like a deadly gas

Seeping everywhere at once

Engulfing space.

Of a sudden,

A dog’s rabid bark pierced my being.

Seeping acrid essence, thought loosing air,

The vast organization of all that I am,

The schedules, the roles,

The duties I’ve become

Suddenly went dumb,

Leaving my mind black

As though engulfed in a shroud

Filtering all certainty and clarity

Through its gauze

Leaving on granules of doubt,

Unanswerable questions that shimmer mysteriously

From the fringes of sensation

Vague and deeply felt.

Black and blacker still

Overcame my sight

As the world turned immeasurably dim

And vastly silent,

Of a sudden, unexpected

Between office and home

When I found myself alone.

Richard Jay Shelton is a painter whose writings include poems and
commentary on art and art history. His writing appears in publications
such as Willard & Maple, The Chaffin Journal, and The Eclectic Muse. His
artwork appears in the Smithsonian Art Institutes, Hirshhorn Museum
and other museums in the US.