How little it takes
written by David C Johnson copyright 2013

I understand now
How thin the patina
How feeble the grasp
How little it takes
To tip from the smoothness
Of daily routine

I understand how
When the Romans quit Britain
It did not take long
For the country to ebb
Into darkness
The mosaics covered
The bright murals flaking
And the walls left to crumble
Into ploughed earth

At Landfall, my mother is not yet quite dead
Yet the weeds start to grow
Where once they never did
And the dust on the skirting boards
Incrementally thickens
“That’ll do” replaces
“I’d like it just so”
The latch on the front gate
Sticks more each day
The hems on Mum’s nighties begin to fray

And in abandoned Britain
The arrow-straight roads
Pot-hole and sag
As the cohorts and legions
No longer tamp them
The law reverts
The news slows from the centre
Time-keeping slips
And the costs increase
The eye is no longer on the ball
Before long the vandals
Will arrive at the gates
And I’ll be picking up trash
From the drive-way entrance