Poem: Small Deaths


Small Deaths

It is a small building,
white, paint peeling, one window boarded up.
It has been empty for as long as you can remember.

A padlock, rusted and strong, hangs on the door.
The screen is torn.

Inside, it is dark.
Rubble litters the floor,
hardware, old papers, and ancient tools.

There was life here once,
here in the center of the village.
People came and left through these doors,

but no more.

It has been left to die day by day
like an abandoned lover.
No single day the death knell,
but death all the same.

The bones are still good.
The roofline straight and true,
the walls plumb.

But the owner will not sell.
Whether from spite or neglect,
no one else may have these walls.
No one else will be allowed to breathe life
into these old walls.
Slavery of a different kind.

And so you walk past.
You look in the window as a melancholy fills you.
The wind blows and a scrap of old paint flakes off
and blows past your face, there
and then gone.

About this poem

About buildings. About people even more.

The picture was taken here in West Pawlet. The story of the poem is mostly true.


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