Marianne Szlyk

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Under Construction

Without their leaves, trees look like scaffolding.
Naked bushes become barbed wire fences.
The only colors are empty wrappers caught in the wind.

Men in masks disassemble the long-vacant house.
The front yard fills
with broken plaster and boards,
with window frames and glass.
Papers blossom like mold.


The grass will be green, first pale, then darker.

The bushes will bristle with waxy thorns,
forsythia’s yellow dots and dashes against the papery sky.

Crocuses will snap up in purple and white. Hyacinths
and lilacs will follow,
their sweetness infusing the wind.

A larger house,
one with bamboo floors, a sunken hot tub,
and walls the color of abalone flesh,
will rise from the ruins.


Copyright 2013 Marianne Szlyk

Marianne Szlyk is a professor at Montgomery College. Her chapbook Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, and her poems have appeared in Of/with, ken* again, Bottlec[r]ap Zine, Jellyfish Whispers, and other sites. She also edits The Song Is…, a blog-zine for poetry and flash fiction inspired by music, especially jazz.

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4 Responses to Marianne Szlyk

  1. Joan McNerney says:

    Is the next deconstruction going to be even worse? Very thought provoking piece.

    • Thank you, Joan. 🙂 For the most part, in my neighborhood, the construction has been positive as it means that an abandoned house will become inhabited. However, my husband and I worry that our house will be torn down when it is sold years from now.

  2. MaryJo says:

    It’s a sobering thought, Marianne.

    Your thought provoking poem sets the standard for all the poems that follow. It’s so well done.

  3. Thank you, Mary Jo. 🙂 I’m quite pleased by your comment.

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