Poem: Short on Answers

ptown dock

Short on Answers

Don’t you wonder sometimes, why they built it?
Was it a fishing pier,
or a place for the lobster boats to lash up to
when the night’s work was done?
Maybe there was a platform at the end
where tourists like you gathered
and dove into the bay, ignoring the signs
that said don’t.
Or maybe there wasn’t a platform,
just a walkway into the sea for atmosphere,
a place to stop and breathe in the salt air.

Don’t you wonder how it fell into such disrepair?
When did it become so disposable?
When did it’s value fall below the threshold
that the maintenance was no long work the effort
and it was left to slowly come undone?

And what was it like, that decline?
The slow rot. One grey board after another
coming loose, undone, falling into the sea
to become driftwood, leaving holes
each new visitor had to step over
until the gaps grew so wide they could not be crossed.
How long did it take?
And how long before every last board fell into the sea
and began their tidal journey?
And how long before these last pylons too
dislodge from their muddy foundation
and drift away?

You wonder, early in the morning fog.
how the same happened to you
and how you came back, rebuilt and worthy
of the work.

As always you are short on answers,
but it does not matter. You stand.
You walk. You live.
And that is enough.

About this poem

The picture was taken in Provincetown, Mass.

Tom

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