Fossilized Ferns

Photograph by Cynthia KermanYesterday's puddles frozen on the sidewalk are today's delicate ice.
My foot shatters fossilized ferns.
I gloomily compare my reckless act, my tiny demolition,
with the mess the world's in.

The progress my great-grandfather took pride in -
he was the only man at the patent office
who understood the plans for a corrugated-cardboard machine
the size of a city block -
that progress clogged rivers, burned forests, raised slagheaps,
stripped mountains from peak to foothill,
and cities grew like a cancer on the land.

We live now in hundreds of houses built from the same blueprint,
identical duplexes with gray siding,
square chunks of brick and paper-thin drywall -
no children or pets allowed.
The Victorian buildings with towers and secret staircases
are torn down to make room for Stop n' Shop.

Tomorrow, I will wake refreshed, step outside and see frozen puddles,
icy feathers on the sidewalk.
Warmed by winter sun, my thoughts reflect off new-fallen snow -
Beauty is perennial; it comes when your back is turned.

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