Why All the Vandalism?

A E hines


Because we’ve seen storms: dark ocean 

leaping barrier walls, entire houses

sucked out to sea.


Because we’ve seen fire: ribbons of light

dancing across hillsides, cities swallowed

in choking bands of smoke and flame.


Tornados ripping up Main Street. Brackish rivers

rising, flowing through strip malls to drown

every material thing.


We’ve seen neighbors help shopkeepers

board up their windows, police

barricade the streets and stand guard.


Because we know you love what you protect

and protect what you serve.


With jackhammers and cranes, everything

springs up better, because what you love,

what you serve, we know you’ll restore.  


Because filing petitions and blocking traffic

never got an officer of the law arrested.


Because not one of you is skilled
at rebuilding a body. Not one can put breath

back into a dead man’s chest.


Because what we love, what we protect,

we cannot rebuild.


And even the least of us, even the least,                 

knows how to board up a window.





A E Hines is a poet living in Portland, Oregon. He is a recent Pushcart nominee and his work has appeared in numerous publications, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, The Briar Cliff Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Hawaii Pacific Review, I-70 Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, SLAB, and Pinyon. twitter: @PoetAEHines, instagram: poet_aehines, web:  www.aehines.net