Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mercy Is a Wrecking Ball

You see so many empty houses 
in small towns like the one 
I live in. I imagine this one’s
final moments

as the life last 
coughs out its door

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

Who were these people who showed
their backs to this place?
Did children wave goodbye
from the rear window
as the car crackled from the drive?

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?

I imagine those first five 
minutes of abandonment 
the sunlight sliding down 
a corner where a child 
once played with his toys
where lovers squeezed hands 
under the table

not even memory 
only 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
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.