Friday, June 10, 2016

A Building On The Waterfront


It's now a condo. Swank and sweetened

with upgrades: chrome, granite and laminated wood.

Outside, it's vintage brick with black-painted shutters,

scuff marks left by the heels of age and climate.

They  walk  along these walls still waiting

for others to come back who will never return.

The upper half was a loft where a woman

illustrated stories for children.  Bench and drawing board

became the polished harbor where her ideas

docked in the evening hours. A  tide of lemon oil

 and  lamplight flooding the room. The bottom half

her book shop where antique volumes

lodged haphazardly on oaken shelves.  A china bull dog 

lingered near the window, ready to bark

if any of  the characters should whisper or shout

from their spine-sewn books. And once-in-awhile

a stray bird would fly through the doorway

looking to land someplace quaint. Like that corner

where  cobwebs and ivy tangled in a space

left  for harbingers of classic things --or trends to soon occur.

 It might have been the yellow finch

Hester  saw flitting among her garden plants, the mocking bird

Scout heard in a magnolia tree - or what I remember.

The swallow pecking at the casement's chipped paint

as if morse-coding a message of how the house

 of narrative would fall.
Notes -- Hester alludes to Hester Pyrnne, the adulteress, in Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel about sin and redemption in Puritan New England, The Scarlet Letter.. Scout refers to Harper Lee's tomboy in To Kill A Mockingbird.

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