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Down to the shell of what was a store

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
clangs.

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).
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