Kent Shaw


My doctor was a well-known philanthropist from West Virginia.
She hosted gala extravaganzas.
Where she invited artists, the couple that owned the only food truck in town,                      
and the creepy guy who let everyone know he was head of the English Department
     at our local university.
She would tell me everything that happened, and I was like,
I guess that's what my appointment is about.
Breathe in. She says. Breathe out.

There is the sound of glass rubbing glass.
When I am afraid to run very fast, it isn't my fault.
I also couldn't picnic with my wife or pick up the dry cleaning or shop at the
     convenience store.
I just want to be sure my life will end at a convenient time for everyone.
Picture the inside of a dark room. And not moving while you're inside.
But that's from your breathing.
A life shaped like a fairy tale featuring only minor characters.
And no horses, even with an epigraph referring in some way to "noble steeds."
Is there a gardener? If you're looking close enough, there is one in the painting.
But no one looks at the paintings.
Composition=composed. And I'm the type who looks away with an air of formality.

I am breathing, doctor.
And I am afraid to breathe any deeper.
Failure is exactly what happens when you have your rib cage replaced with glass rods.
If you were to picture the painting of a single wave in the middle of the ocean. Rising.
     And sinking.
And being buried beneath all the other oceaning ocean that oceans outside the frame of
     this painting.
Then you would see my perspective.
And my constant existing among the world.
I am one ocean wave. I am one ocean wave. I am an ocean wave preparing to break.





When I lived in West Virginia, my doctor would take a full 30 minutes to talk with me about conditions. My conditions. Life in Huntington. I don't know if she knew the former Chair of the English Department, but he was creepy.