The ER
was a forest of sliding doors
inviting you in politely,
whispering in tongues familiar
to your nightmares
but foreign to your ears.
An anesthetic mist poured through
the vents,
cleansing you of your scent,
relieving you of one of the natures of the human condition.
Despite the bright lights
blinding overhead, you cast no shadow,
for now a visitor,
like a ghost among the breathing,
gliding between rooms looking for it’s lost ones.
that is the reality of the room,
doom lies like dust on the floors.

The ER
was a labyrinth of sliding doors
drawing you closer to it’s belly
where the minotaur snored
soft beeps,
destined to repeat at rhythmic speed
like heartbeats recorded.
Faceless voices chattered through the walls
and sound distorted so that
silence was deafening to the human ear.
Fear laid thick on limbs,
some broken. Some riddled with sores.

The ER
was a graveyard of sliding doors
where it was normal for families to spend days,
Christmas eves and Thanksgivings
begging for the barely living.
Where priests stalked halls like Grim Reapers
on agenda,
only content to
a religion.
Did you believe in God when you were invited?
Children used to be excited
to see the doctor.
Proud to see the scale.
Fascinated by the ebb and flow of
the current that was the room.
Funny how things change.
IV’s used to be something strange,
now just fodder for fear.
Supposedly the help that it’s ignored,

The ER
was a tomb of sliding doors
where I saw his body stop
where my heart dropped
and I responded with my bile
painting the men’s room floor.
I compensated in the worst way.
Hell of a place to spend my seventeenth birthday.
Years past and I still chill
when invited.
I still dry heave
and shake
I still catch traces of death
I’m surely fabricating.
I’m still looking for my shadow,
still hurting.
Still afraid.
Still hear the echo of my footsteps on the floors.
Still hiding behind trees
in this forest of sliding doors…


Shaquille Stewart

Montgomery Village, United States

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Artwork Comments

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