Abandoned Building, East St. Louis – A Poem by Michael Brownstein

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Submitted by Michael Brownstein

The honey locust atop the high rise downtown
Slips its roots through the roof into the empty
Office and immediately begins the slow
Baby steps towards starvation. When the rains come,
And they always do, it opens its heart.
Nothing anymore is forever. A page in a book
Mentions a name long forgiven and a word
No longer has the meaning of slang or anger.
The tree lets go of its leaves, seeks weight,
And one day falls onto the floor, each branch
Seeking the limited light of the broken roof.
Long afterwards, its memory enough.


About the Poet

Michael H. Brownstein’s has a few chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013). He presently resides in Jefferson City, Missouri where he lives with enough animals to open a shelter.


Painting: Vilhelm Hammershoi – The Buildings of the Asiatic Company, seen from St. Annæ Street

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