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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 29, 2017.
About this Poem 

“In 2016, when I first moved to Arkansas, I became fascinated with the abandoned concrete block factory in my neighborhood. I recently brought some of my students there, and we all wrote poems in response to the site. This poem is also an homage to Linda Gregg’s ‘Elegance,’ with my first few lines echoing hers.”
—Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

Abandoned Block Factory, Arkansas

All that is left
unaccounted for:
elegance married
to rust. On the roof, rain
dwelling in the corrugations.
Some slats vanished
altogether, a blankness
giving way to sky. But the eaves
hold in perfect vertices,
refuse to abandon
their beauty, hard-earned.
High on the yellow silo,
the conveyor’s lattice
is as finely wrought
as a string instrument’s
struts and braces: precision
in every coordinate
and all across the godlike slant
from tower to the ground.
There would be no time at all
if not for moss swelling
in concrete cracks,
the guard rails papered
by lichen. If not for the rest
of the world, the silence
it attempts to punctuate:
crow caw. Engine roar.
Horns of every pitch
and color. The train’s
shuddering Doppler,
crossing us now—as always—
in near-perfect intervals. Even
though there is no tangible
good to stop for,
nothing whole to take away.

Copyright © 2017 by Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 29, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 29, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers is the author of Chord Box (University of Arkansas Press, 2013).