Waterline

Old concrete slabs, foundations left
for sheds no longer standing
still they linger in the backyards
of this Pennsylvania town
where there is nothing going down
but the economy.

Kids play with finger skateboards
on picnic tables because the hillsides
are too steep for looking over.
Old women with curly white hair
smell yellow flowers that they bought
on their way home from picking pills
out of the backroom.

I want to keep track of my years
in rusted nails I hammer into
an old chunk of wood
I cut from one of these old buildings
where the broken glass is eaten
like the dead skin on the rims
around our fingernails.

We all desire pain until we’re feeling it
because anything that’s short of it is boredom.
It’s kind of like the difference between
a public park and truly wild forest.
They almost look the same close up,
but there is always something lacking
in the one we try to muster up for comfort.

In some old trade school there are scrappers
ripping sinks out of the waterline for metal,
and the hallways all are flooding
and their footsteps sound like something sinking in.
I don’t know where the end begins
but I bet it looks like burning cars
and fog over the sky,
all while a voice over a speaker
tries to calm everyone down
by simply threatening to take
the rest away.

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