Withered men used to dig the trenches,
their tired hands rough and worn down from labour’s past,
the soot under their fingernails forming something called modern art,
their faces besmirched with dirt leftover from the mines.
Battered women reached out in vain,
calling out for their loved ones to cease the hurt,
mending their broken fingers
and patching up their wounds
as they licked themselves clean,
washing away the blood with their own salty tears.
Infants used to be born to absent mothers,
their hearts and minds unavailable,
their bodies farther gone,
hidden in cheap hotel rooms and dusty, studio apartments
dressed up in old furniture taken from the curb,
their edges cracking and splitting.
Time used to age gracefully,
but finesse has since become foreign territory,
its traces forever erased now that the clocks have stopped,
their hands ticking no more.
Solace can no longer be found.