Hovel — a poem about the nature of neglect
Erosion doesn't require abuse.
It only requires neglect.
Lack of money, time, or love—
it doesn't matter which,
and many times, it's all.
In any case,
what was raised in hope
will slowly and tragically fall.
The shingles stay past their intended time—
a few fall off and the rain sinks in.
The ceiling begins to sweat—
the clammy inner skull of the home
perspiring at the nearby knowledge
that soon what it shields
The gutters fill with leaves,
then rain, then snow, then ice.
Spring brings green trees and beauty
but also thaws the frozen seasons
that frame the roofline like memories.
Drip, drip, drip, drip,
while you work,
while you sleep,
while you laugh at what's on TV.
The walls sweat like the ceiling before it—
shivering at the understanding
that the paint will soon peel and crack
and the wood will mildew and creak.
The doors swell and warp
as the temperatures rise and fall,
and soon you can't lock up the house
or keep that once-magical portal
on its now rusty hinges.
Windows pop and threaten to shatter—
no one visits or knows what's the matter.
The floorboards stop gossiping
and begin to scream—
the wires fry and pipes burst—
soon you're tip-toeing,
dressing in darkness
and saving coins for the laundromat.
It would cost more to repair
what has been uncared-for
than it would to start fresh
in a clean foreclosure.
But is it a home that we're eulogizing?
Or is it an aging body
or a decades-long relationship
struggling beneath its own valuable weight?
It doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter.
I promise you,
it does not matter.
They're all distressing, all grave—
all natural and to be expected.
Nature taking its course
when we don't put up the good fight
to resist the savage winds of change.
In this era of instant everything on-demand,
we don't know how to continue traditions of the past,
and we've lost the blueprints and instructions
for building and ensuring something lasts.
I pray for one more night
of the roof not falling in
while we bicker and decide
whether to save this hovel
of a castle we're in.