by A.B.

First there was the heat.
Kiln womb,
Suffocated after being dragged up from the ground.
Clapped together, clay compressed,
Neat brick forms made.
The twenty-fifth blackbird roasted,
Fed with burning warmth.

Dragged out into the cold, cold air.
Beside my brothers, weeping in the brightness of the day,
Formed into clean-cut lines,
Mortar slathered onto my burnt skin.

Stacked now,
Vertical crazy paving,
Soaring, piling to the sky to encase solid air.

Beside my brethren I shrouded a room,
The chamber heart and soul of this grand house,
Where steam tortured the daytime
And the steady drip of lard continued long into the night.
A spit nearby,
Where sweating boys did stand to make the shining meat rotate.

Years on:
A change of hands,
Till finally the ink was dry.
Then disrespect, a hatred for our fine firm bricks –
A mask erected, smeared with fresh new plaster
And locked away beneath the hollowness of plywood.
Years spent now festering in the dreary dark,
No courage to crumble and break.

Dormant, sleeping, woken again;
A second birth from the age of shadow,
Inglenooks gloating again,
Light petering in as they worked to free us.
Ingrained within the brick is all this life,
Finally reflecting on the open air to come.

And future will go on (leave a space in the scrapbook):
As each memory fades overwritten by a new one,
Until all is chalk brick dust
And rests to bind with wizened earth.