the electric fence outside

is the reason i’m afraid to leave the house
   beyond this hallway and that closed door

away from my sleeping dog curled,
   bathing in the TV glow that I ignore.

if that door shuts behind me
   that leaves only me on the other side

alone waiting for instruction,
   for company to penetrate the solitude

rattling from one membranous thought
   to another—every ricochet a painful shock

despite seeing it coming each time
   just like touching the 6V electric wire

as a kid over and over again
   holding onto that fence at the edge

of the field, the jolt still surprising
   on every round trip, on every outing

just as the loneliness of the world
   hits me one more time outside my door.

Sean Chapman is a British writer living in Cornwall beside the capricious Atlantic Ocean and amongst the blur of a blue Whippet and a red fox Labrador. His prolonged and wayward adolescence included working in a Taiwanese astrophysics department, on a Salford mental health ward, on the Liverpool docks, and in a Manchester disability support office, before washing ashore in a Cornish surf shop. Between daydreams of cowboy adventures and surfing escapades he writes poems, dedicated to Maggie, some of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Marble Poetry, Raceme, Squawk Back, Prole, Dreich Magazine, The Pomegranate London, Trouvaille Review and Anti-Heroin Chic. He can be found on Twitter: @seanchapman_1.

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