Poem: Light Leaks In

Light Leaks In

The factory has been abandoned long enough
that weeds grow in the sidewalks
and the mortar between the bricks has crumbled.

It was a deliberate act, the walking away.
The windows were not merely boarded,
but filled with with new brick made from river clay
and cemented in place.
A permanent barrier. That was the plan.
No one in. Ever. No plan to re-enter or rebuild.

Brick it in.
Walk away.

But there’s always that one guy who believes
space deserves light. Space is the the same thing
as opportunity.

And abandonment, no matter what was meant by it,
abandonment too means opportunity,
a chance to prove a worth others could not see.
An imagination of perseverance.

How many times have you passed this place
and wondered what was beyond the walls and fences.
You get the itch, the familiar itch, to break in.
How many times? Many. Many.
and today you come equipped,

lifting the heavy pickaxe over your head,
swinging it, living the first rule of restoration
that has served you so well:
Destruction is the beginning of rebirth.

The steel hits the cracks in the mortar.
Bricks fly. Light leaks in.
And whatever happens from this moment forward,
this, this is a good day.

About this poem

Many of my poems are about restoration. It’s been a theme in my life. Taught by my father in both his skills with furniture and buildings, and even though he never admitted to it, in his life, I have restored many things, including myself.

Until dementia claimed him, he was restoring things to the end. I hope to follow that same pattern, in whatever sane strong years I have left. (May they be many!). There’s work to be done. Things to save from abandonment.

Including myself.

Tom

PS: The picture was taken in Saint Louis.

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