Two Poems

Grandfather's Ruin

Out in the underbrush
lies a foundation:
blocks fitted by hands
currently dilapidated.
Why the mortar would crumble

like the chalk of bones
is beyond me.  All I know
is that the body turns inward
& begins to speak to rot.
Fingers grip the edge

& slip off.  The engineering
sighs like a bowed floor.
The plan suffers a stroke
& goes to ground, a house
interred by overgrowth,

& will not soon cease
to provide moist soil
desired by slink beings
cutting worlds below.

Unscientific Method

One must have faith in engineers.   The parapet
of steel that curves, the floorboard strips
beneath one's boots, the lattice fence that melds
them each & tapers toward the mass of traffic
far below, these features join the arch
bridgework adjacent. Hands belabored
each square inch, aligned the tensile beams.
Though the framework juts in open space
keep walking. Those cars just seem to reach
one's side at hurtling speeds. Keep walking.
Cross the orthotropic plates. Insist
perpendices exist to bear what weight
the architects envisioned. What weight
must yield to calculus, as one must test
the argument of death. What might give way
cannot be known; a rusted bolt may break
at any time. But countless feet have braved
this span. Have faith in engineers.

—Janann Dawkins, Ann Arbor, MI