The Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital

by Keith Dunlap

What is it that is left behind
to remind us of what occupied this place?
Cracked plaster, broken glass, and peeling paint,
a colorless industrial gray mottled
by grime, mold, moisture, and decay,
so that there is no sign, no trace
of order sanitarily imposed
on the once defiant exiles of the human race.
The rubble of a roof cavedin by its own sodden weight,
and a quiet and an emptiness large enough to contain
the numberless incommensurable souls.
No matter what complaints or wretched laughter
used to resound within these semisolid walls;
no matter what singular thoughts used to echo
within the chambers of the inmate’s brains,
at the end of a life of secrets it is the silence that remains,
and shafts of stale penetrating light that expose
a discarded mop handle and a piece of garden hose.