Based on the painting “Corridor in the Asylum” 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh


by Julie Sumner

If we were in the asylum,

I hope it would be this one–

With sunny colors and repeating arches,

Rays of light even, here and there.

Perhaps inside the rooms

There are large casement windows,

Panes that crank open to sun and sky,

Views of sugar maples and osage orange trees.

As we gaze down at the terra cotta tiles,

Standing on the threshold, you and I

Realize–down that long corridor

Could be our own doors.

Our own space to fall apart,


From supposedly good choices,

From everyone else’s preconceived notions,

From our own quixotic expectations;

Fall into our own

Long-awaited, patient selves,

Into the wide, wide graciousness

Of the merciful unknown.


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