Breaking Down

One of us collapses slowly
like a sail when its mast snaps—
not overcome by foul weather,
but worm-rotted.

One is a tottering fence
that finally lies flat, secretly
relieved not to stand any longer
for or against or in between.

Another crumbles, solid brick
that never could stop gnawing
on its own mortar;
or burns like an abandoned hotel,
consumed in minutes, ashes to ashes.

But others keep standing,
convinced that the mast will hold
against any wind; that the spine
is a stout, upright picket.
Some of us believe it’s possible
to retuck the bricks, to retrofit.
We douse the fire.