Windows are boarded up.
The door is padlocked.
Many of the shingles are missing.
And roof tiles are scattered across
the unmown yard.
The old man who lived in it passed away
and surviving relatives have been hard to come by.
Befuddled lawyers, indecisive local council,
just means more neglect, more ruin.
It could be years before anything's resolved.
Pigeons and sparrows find some use for it.
My mother's concerned that tramps
might take a liking to its shelter.
And as for rats - there doesn't even have to be any,
The threat is enough.
My father says
the longer no one moves into it
the less likely it will ever he restored
to what it was.
I don't even need him to tell me that.
I can see vividly,
on my daily trudge to school,
what it means to be abandoned.
I'm curious. empathetic,
and I take it as a warning.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and the anthology, No Achilles with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag and Spoon River Poetry Review.