Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Feb 2017
We gathered our water
and packs at daybreak
to hike hand in hand
toward the distant ruinβ€”
a tall stone chimney planted
on otherwise empty acreage,
a kudzu-covered tower,
the ghost of a farmhouse
now a home to field mice,
black beetles and bats,
with bricks the color
of weathered blood,
vertebrae stacked
a century and a half ago
by a stonemason’s craft,
still solid and bonded
despite the slow decay
of arthritic mortar.

How long have we
walked together?

The morning
is all we have
left to ponder.
We walk for hours;
the chimney grows
larger at our approach.
I want to ask you
a question about
the night we met,
what you said
just before I held
you for the first time,
but then I catch sight
of my hand and realize
I am walking alone,
moving inexorably
toward a ruination
of my own making.
How could I have been
so careless? Unable
to stop, every step
strips something away:
my hair thins and falls,
as white and weak
as sickled wiregrass;
another step and my
body atomizes into
the stuff of stars,
pollen scattered
on a rising wind.

So this is what it
feels like to decay.

By the time I reach
the ruin I am mostly
cinder and ash,
a sorry vestige
sown in a quiet field,
a forgotten landmark
that strangers will visit,
if only to contemplate
how the evening fog
spindles like smoke
along the enduring
column of my spine.
Jonathan Witte
Written by
Jonathan Witte  East of Georgia Avenue
(East of Georgia Avenue)   
Please log in to view and add comments on poems