Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mercy Is a Wrecking Ball

So many empty houses 
in small towns like the one 
I live in, I see one and imagine 
its final moments

as the life last 
coughs out its door
the last stick of furniture 
the last suitcase 

the key turning 
feet turning 
thumping away
this home’s last heartbeats 
fading from the porch

The car crackles from the drive…
Who were these people who showed
their backs to this place?
Did children wave goodbye
to this closed chapter of their 
(now long gone) lives 
from the rear window?

or was this an adult child 
settling the affairs
of the last parent dying?
and for bad debt
or worse childhood

would not could not 
keep these walls, these floors
this sagging embrace of roof

Whatever the story, the thought 
of those first five minutes 
of sunlight sliding down silent
in rooms where a child 
played with his toys
lovers squeezed hands under the table
Dad napped on the couch while
Mom cleaned after Sunday dinner

now no one, 
not even memory 
just dust 
until a stray breeze through a 
widening, necrotizing wound
among the neglect 
finds it

Those first five minutes couldn’t
have been any more agonizing than
all these days, decades of emptiness
but to think of that final abandonment
the good times over for good
and the seasons tucked in to feed….

I hear the surly child in my head
“Take a picture, it’ll last longer”
so I do
and I walk on

“If these walls could talk” 
as the saying goes
I expect they would 
tell me just that.

From the forthcoming collection Nymphomagic Electroshock and Other Middle-Aged Complaints.
Copyright © 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken.