First came the scrappers,
Slicing the drywall muscle for Detroit gold.
Dissection of the vein,
They gutted the city,
Broke her teeth,
Boarded up her eyes.
Then came the scavengers,
looking to make a buck
off of rotted innards.
In their wake,
Floating webs of lead pipe,
Heaps of human garbage,
Scattered lily pads of exploded plaster.
One ghost tower at the sky’s throat,
rusted metal Z’s spindle up the exterior.
Then came the artists.
Red graffiti-blazed cement,
And a necklace of lights.
But Zion stands abandoned.
A piano lays on her side
Her rib cage torn open.
The words of God disintegrate into wax.
The bowels of the yellow Packard plant digest blueprints and floppy disks.
Dropped by engineers with their pink slips.
Then came the arsonists.
Paid to set fire,
or angered to set fire.
Black shells flake in the rain.
And last, came the ebb of green tentacles,
Grasping at the crater
and blooming in the cracks.
EMILY VIALL is a writer, poet, and research nurse living in Columbus, Ohio. She has published a poem in Harness Magazine and received an Honorable Mention in Stirling Publishing for a piece of flash fiction.
Featured image: Paul Klee, “Alter Dampfer (Old Steamboat),” oil transfer drawing and watercolor on laid paper, on Klee’s original mount, 1922, Rosenwald Collection, National Gallery of Art.