Free At Last

Foundations crumble; walls begin to sag;
The second story’s windows crack and break;
Once stable floors acquire a major tilt;
And basso rumbling wakes the family dog,
Who compensates by moving out-of-doors.

The contractor we thought at work just snores;
The plumber’s in Miami, lost in fog
Around a poker table. Without guilt
Or sorrow, everyone who ought to make
Our ruins whole decides instead to lag

Behind the storm, holding an empty bag
For loot. Our neighbors say that’s no mistake.
The perpetrators have already built
Our gutted, emptied houses, kept a log
Of their accomplishments: the many scores

Of dead communities. And who abhors
These politicians’ work? The polly-wog
They leave behind to swim the national silt,
And breed a new tomorrow, builds an ache
Instead for long lost lies: the hallowed flag

Across a cemetery’s entry arch;
The ghosts of Gettysburg; a funeral march.

Arthur Mortensen of Brooklyn has appeared in many journals and has three collections: A Disciple After the Fact, a novel in verse (Kaba Press); Life in the Theater, sequel, and Why Hamlet Waited So Long (San Sebastian Press). Upcoming is After the Crash, currently in submission. He has been editor & publisher of Somers Rocks Press, Pivot Press, and is Webmaster of