Abandoned Block Factory, Arkansas

Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

All that is left
unaccounted for:
elegance married
to rust. On the roof, rain
dwelling in the corrugations.
Some slats vanished
altogether, a blankness
giving way to sky. But the eaves
hold in perfect vertices,
refuse to abandon
their beauty, hard-earned.
High on the yellow silo,
the conveyor’s lattice
is as finely wrought
as a string instrument’s
struts and braces: precision
in every coordinate
and all across the godlike slant
from tower to the ground.
There would be no time at all
if not for moss swelling
in concrete cracks,
the guard rails papered
by lichen. If not for the rest
of the world, the silence
it attempts to punctuate:
crow caw. Engine roar.
Horns of every pitch
and color. The train’s
shuddering Doppler,
crossing us now—as always—
in near-perfect intervals. Even
though there is no tangible
good to stop for,
nothing whole to take away.

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What things are steadfast? Not the birds.
Not the bride and groom who hurry
in their brevity to reach one another.
The stars do not blow away as we do.
The heavenly things ignite and freeze.
But not as my hair falls before you.
Fragile and momentary, we continue.
Fearing madness in all things huge
and their requiring. Managing as thin light
on water. Managing only greetings
and farewells. We love a little, as the mice
huddle, as the goat leans against my hand.
As the lovers quickening, riding time.
Making safety in the moment. This touching
home goes far. This fishing in the air.