Arts + Scene » Poetry

Slow Motion Collapse


Slow Motion Collapse

Near the Mad River Bridge,

enormous, leaning, roof slanting to weeds,

the gray red hay-barn yearns toward level;

slow-motion catastrophe slipping down like years.

Nearby, pickups loll in tall grass, as blind to its wreck

as children playing on a crumbling bluff.


When we drive by we're on watch.

Has the crisis come, the final crash?

Today as before the roof rounds its exhausted shoulders,

holed, sieved; boards shattered and shivered to shards,

some walls, like nets, more holes than old wood.

Doors gape, neither open nor shut.

It stands, not yet to earth,

like an elephant down on a knee,

her trunk raised, trumpeting in agony.

As in a photograph of war, we hear no groan or roar.


Make haste! Pay your respects

to this monument of decay

near the Mad River, north of Arcata.

— Aline Faben

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