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"The Mill" - Siraj A. Sindhu


Except for our crumbling tinderbox paper-mill
in whose ugly face my high-beams shone each dawn,
I would have gladly left it all behind.
Its hollow rooms and smashed-up panes still
sentinel the river, testifying to peeled, browning brawn
and business, the past stubbornly on the mind.

Its brusque façade blights the boulevard
where the industrial intersection of Water and Pearl
retreats from the ragged sidewalk and tired fence.
The city veils its embarrassment in chains and builds west
with room for screens and sales far from the lazy hurl
of the roaring river, jobless, now, that the times are hard.

Who watches the mill at sunrise now that I am gone?
Are the pigeons and gulls company enough, with occasional
bored faces who pitch their skinny limbs over the chain-link?
When I visit, will the mill still groan its reminiscent song
against the suffocating tide of cell towers and roads? The usual
story:  once cherished treasures, now into oblivion do sink.

But the mill has nothing to fear, creaking on its spindly legs.
Its wheel lodges in the sands of time, where all dwells and ends.