Today I saw a motorcycle
with a license place that read
SOBER above its back fender.
I’ve seen it here before, parked
along the scaffold-covered sidewalk
next to the old campus library
set for demolition.
Whose is it, I wonder.
What student, what teacher
enters the morning
half lost in shadows to park
next to ruin every day?
I can stand for hours watching men
in red hard hats, etched in tattoos,
spraying down rubble with water hoses
to keep dust from flying
into the blue September sky
while another wall falls,
watching an excavator outstretch
its giraffe neck to remove concrete
and steel from the cadaverous body
now hollow, long drained of life, unstable
under the weight of words, under
the knowledge of itself.
How easy it is to get caught up
in destruction, and how hard it is
back from obliteration—
not from one massive implosion
or the forged steel of a wrecking ball,
but drawing the earth backwards piece by piece.
Maybe the bike belongs to a hard hat
who wears ruin like a safety vest,
coiled in the greenest ivy
as the process of rewilding begins.