In those days of unguarded moments,
thieves slipped from shadow to cut holes
in fences, punching through asbestos
and emptied classrooms to pull hallways
of copper wire from false ceilings.
They coiled the copper around
the broken heart of unpaid rent
and the absence of birdsong, rolled
the drums down empty roads towards
a lost port, stopping only for sunrise.
Copper became a dishonest conductor
of greed, its rust-orange lustre
an electric shame, metaphor for what
had been stripped from the world.
We became borders around ourselves,
masking the invisible, only our eyes
said goodbye for missing hours,
for gasping patients and billionaire
islands; in abandon, we had nothing fit
for a eulogy. There are streets
where nobody lives now and we
may no longer love in the same ways.
If we do touch, be fierce; write longing
into each moment, wind around me
like copper, until something sparks again.
- Marc Nair, 38, received the 2016 NAC Young Artist Award and has published and edited 12 books of poetry. This poem is inspired by four men who allegedly stole up to $11,000 of copper cables from vacant junior colleges during the circuit breaker.
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