In the age-old struggle of man to defy
The elements, it was Michael and I
Two old men with a bar and a sledge
A mason’s chisel that we used to wedge
Board from board of a backyard deck
A block away from the water’s edge
The planks had buckled when the ocean rose up hard
Heading north to where the houses are.
And kept on coming till it filled the yard.
So it had to go, piece by piece.
Hauled out to the street in pieces.
Posts and headers and joists and plates
Four by fours and two by eights.
But something there is that doesn’t love a mall
And it was Black Friday after all
Instead of shopping
Instead of buying
We went chopping
We went prying.
Wreaking our own kind of violent commotion
As if taking revenge on the ocean.
The guy next door came out to smoke.
His yard had trees that now were stumps
And trash that lay in heaps and clumps.
“Careful of those granite tiles.
I’m saving them to use again.”
We asked how high the water had been
And he held his hand up to his chin.
There’s a certain irony
The fight to conquer entropy
Must lose, by definition.
But even so, with bar and sledge
We wage it at the ocean’s edge:
It starts with demolition.