By Paul A. White
An ominous cloud has passed
from the sky deep inside of me.
Was it a dream? Lightning
struck and scratched
a few words on the page
with a bony fingertip.
Now the illumination
is gone and doubt returns
like a velvet curtain of stars
thrown over my cowed head.
My soul rang like a cathedral bell
all of me vibrating and singing
so hard my glasses fell off in a field.
Everything is blurry with rain
and wet rags at the roadside.
Is there a person in there?
Scarecrow in a downpour
the weight of tears pulls clothes
from his spine -- nothing
but straw and bones
and an old book of hymns.
No, I won't let them read my poems.
They will think I'm crazy again.
Not another lightning strike! Please!
But tell me, how can I not speak
after God shot all the way through
and left me here empty and waiting?
PAUL A. WHITE lives in Cheektowaga and is a registered nurse working in pediatric home care. Diagnosed as schizophrenic at age 17, he has made writing a daily practice for more than 20 years. His new chapbook, "The Difficult Gift" published by Jeanne Duval Editions of Atlanta, contains poems about his affliction, its treatment and his recovery. One of the poems in the chapbook, "Archaeologist of Now," has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.