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North American Dreaming: A Forgotten Life

William Burkholder’s evocative poem tells of the remants of a forgotten life.

The dark hall beckons,
Strewn with the dust,
The remnants of a lost life,
A forgotten life.

Pictures of long forgotten images,
Tattered and canted on the wall,
Paper peeling,
Naked bulb swinging on a chafed coiled wire.

Stacks of old newspapers blocking the door,
at least six weeks worth of mail,
And the flies,
Thick as lignite fog on a dark night,
Swarming and devouring their necrotic host.

Windows stained with lonely tears,
Stained with alienated fingerprints,
From a world that closed and locked a societal gate
years ago.

The host was once vital,
Once drew breath as you and I,
Lived a life of meaning,
Of purpose.
But was left to wither as the autumn stock,
The fallen leaf, The flightless bird.
His realm is empty now, the nest vacant.
His conveyance now upon the wings of angels.

He has left the dark rooms,
He has left the portraits hanging,
He has left the naked light,
He has left the tear stained windows,
He has left the pain and alienation,
He has left the mail man,
The newspaper delivery,
He has left indifferent streets,
and their cold laughter.
He has left us to sweep the dead flies,
and remove him from his prison.
He has left, and we remain.


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