Lindsey C. Johnson

Asylum Pastoral

The vines are hungry for brick
and their finger-roots pry apart
the artificial red stone.
Needles of weeds and grass
pierce the skin of the sidewalk,
cracking it with raw sores.
Architectural Eczema.

The crumbling ruins
were formed by man
as were the dense, dark worlds
that they form within their hole-filled walls.
Their musty scent of decay swims through
the lonely, silent campus.

Once, there were many people here,
hiding or being hidden
inside of the brick tree-ruins
rooted firmly to the asylum grounds.
Cast out from the town,
they became woodland creatures,
owls with wide, nervous eyes.

Now, most have flown away.
Their dying, overgrown habitat
is left to the rats and ants.
People-less, the false, brick arbors
yawn at the tree-dotted field
which clutches them close like
a slumbering titian.