Poem: Abandoned Things

BW house

Abandoned Things

You see them everywhere.
Abandoned. Empty.
The clapboards void of paint, grey,
rotting, some falling off, all akimbo.

You see them everywhere.
Windows broken.
Doors hanging on a single hinge.
Vines twining from the inside out.

You see them everywhere.
often there is furniture left behind.
Pictures on the wall hang askey.
Nothing of enough value to save,

The need to escape so profound
nothing else matters. Nothing else
is worth saving. All left behind
to become relics.

They become landmarks, these abandoned places,
slowly coming undone,
board by board falling apart
under the gaze of strangers.

They become a fascination in the undoing,
a wonderment that they still survive
year after year, never quite collapsing,
never quite standing as they once did,

and you wait for their collapse,
a certainty, unless someone takes them on,
a restoration project, which all too rarely happens.
It is too much effort for a relic.

And so it comes undone.
Vagrants stay there, on old mattresses,
littered with old paperbacks and bottles,
safe from the wind, until time and neglect

make them unsafe for even the least of souls
and only the wind and rodents remain,
slowly tearing at what’s left.
Plaster falls. Floors fail.

You see them everywhere.
Some of them breathe.
And little more.

About this poem

It’s about houses and buildings. And it is true that I am surrounded by them. Abandoned places.

It is also about people. They are everywhere. Abandoned. Slowly coming undone. Some dig out. Some are saved. Most are not.

The picture was taken in Botetourt County, Va.


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