The Old Wound

In the rains last spring, the retaining wall
above the parking lot fell down
without fanfare, stone and grout everywhere.
A real mess. Oh, they put it back together,
added a buttress and a row of weep holes
that look like hex signs warding off some
impending evil. But the thing still doesn’t
seem right, the gray pelt of the stone
marked with a saddle of rust where the rain
has sieved mud through the porous grout.
In places, lime streaks down the face of it,
phosphorescent: reflections in painted water.
You can see the crazy zig and zag of rust
meandering below the new gray stone
where they’ve replaced the part that fell.

What will happen next spring,
when the rains are here again for days?
Will the wall feel the shoulder of the earth
behind it, ache where the ragged boundary
line of scar still tells of the old wound?
Then, will it crash again across the order
of our days—our businesslike macadam
so smug in its neat, white piping?