The Old Schoolhouse by Leslie Harrison

The gray slate chalkboards rain dust, reign dusty
and afternoon stirs fragments through the air
grown stale and thicker now.
There’s only you to see, and if somewhere
in the building, stray words were gathered,
assembled, and shelved–modest

and eaten–no one will read them, be improved,
make repairs. Instead you nudge the vacuum
into collection, revision.
Don’t you wish you could change something? The sun
will rise again tomorrow, will torch the unloved
dust. But lately you’ve weathered

a different storm, and that mechanical swirl
and all your impulses conspire. What use
is the dancing, ridden swell,
this silent, narrow hall? Today this house
is empty, a series of abandoned rooms
you lived in once and believed you understood.


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