derelict store.jpg

Down to the shell of what was a store

Poet: L. Ward Abel

Down to the shell of what was a store’s 

four corners, concrete block vines climb 

the wet walls and no roof blocks out the sky 

from all that comes with it. 


It’s years later since heart  

first went-the-knuckle with time. 

Today even ghosts have abandoned 

such places. The world’s not the same world;  


the song’s not the same song.  

So much has gone from here only to be  

replaced with whirrs, flashes 



Out back on an old metal sign  

an unrecognizable face rusted and nailed  

to a post strains to send a message out to  

anyone who’ll listen—his cries oxidize  


when hitting the air like the way 

of the holy, whose example can only be   

at most pencil-shading a blank sheet  

to find shadow words.  


But there is salvation in damaged goods 

and no growth in perfection. At solstice 

and equinox the rising sun comes straight  

through where a door used to latch. 

L. Ward Abel’s work has appeared in Rattle, The Reader, The Istanbul Review, Snow Jewel, The Honest Ulsterman, hundreds of others, and he is the author of two full collections and eleven chapbooks of poetry, including Jonesing For Byzantium (UKA Press, 2006),  American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012),  Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), A Jerusalem of Ponds (erbacce-Press, 2016), The Rainflock Sings Again (Unsolicited Press, 2019), and his latest full collection, Floodlit (Beakful, 2019).