The Final Abandoning

Who were they, the men who came, with rusted shovels bent

to knock the windows from someone’s grandfather’s home?

How much did they save the state? Were they given medals

for swinging blunt instruments through dust-iced glass?


If they found anything heaped in the corners: mason jars,

photo albums, schoolbooks or guestbooks, did they carry them

home in their work pails, or did they stand on the front steps

and use them to shatter the wide panes of the bedroom window?


Maybe they pocketed the screws harvested from the doorframe…

or did they pile them up on a sturdier board and leave them

to gather further rust and knit meaningless threads of dust?

Did they wonder who’d first screwed all those bits of metal in?


It is possible, of course, that they did none of these things. But, if

they did; did the mothers and uncles, grandmothers cousins brothers—

who’d fitted those windows into their panes, who’d stared out from those

very windows and let the tears mix with dishwater, who’d watched snow fall—


As their lives fractured into meaninglessness and fell away like shrapnel,

what if they looked down from somewhere, smiling at the futility of humankind,

amused at the sight of the dirt-streaked men who’d buy their families dinner

with the money they had made destroying forgotten cairns of homes?


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