My Yellow Wall

by James Como (April 2022)

All That is Beautiful, Ben Shahn, 1966


A brick apartment building stands on East 91st Street.
I see it, on the corner closest to the river, every morning
from across that street. I’ve never been inside.
Its bricks are pale yellow per se, not painted.
But my eyes are old and I am color blind.
Not black-and-white color blind.
Still, yellow is tricky. The building
appears of a color nearly the same as
objects I know to be yellow, because I’d been catechized.

None of this matters, though, because of what happens:
the sun hits it flush and the burnished bricks transfigure,
the yellow intolerably charged as simmering gold,
and yet more solid, a light-beyond-light empyrean
breaking throughone never knows,
can never knowcascading upon that inner eye,
a revelation proffered for my wonder, so I am
transfixed and (uncharacteristically), now,
finally I need not search for meaning.

I Am is here.
Either that, or this I, me, is insane.
But I am indifferent to that cold difference.

The brick, its yellow, the sun,
three for me together, an unmerited gift.
I must remember to be grateful.


Table of Contents


James Como’s new book is Mystical Perelandra: My Lifelong Reading of C. S. Lewis and His Favorite Book (Winged Lion Press).

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