We are building the ruins.

It is taking a long time.

There will be almost nothing

 

but what has not been plundered:

shattered shoulders of concrete,

glass, tiles, the deepest foundations.

 

What was here will have to be imagined—

skies will be so empty whole cities

must stand imagined in them.

 

We are building the ruins.

It is taking forever.

This is what gives us time

 

to do it thoroughly.

Walls won’t hide the wealth forever.

The lifts will stop ascending.

 

The ruins will be shattered vowels

and last unbreakable consonants

left for latecomers to imagine

 

what might have been said

from a second-storey window

on a Sunday morning late in April

 

when a woman called from the street

Elena! Elena!—

to her friend above.

 

We are building the ruins.

The work is never finished.

We leave almost nothing in our wake.

 

We are building ruins upon ruins.

We do this for our children.

Dusk will eat the day.

 

Night will teach us its gnomic lessons.

Our bed sheets still repeat the pattern:

each morning another crumpled ruin.

 

Elena, leaning over her red geranium

On her window sill calls back down to her friend

in a voice that carries all that will be ruined