Civil Engineers, blind to the designs they create. Road builders as minute as the worm eat so that they may move, moving in order to consume. They assist in the decay of fallen trees and the crumbling of stone, insuring that the life pulled from the earth to support the giant is returned; repaid in full an extended loan.

Cut into the earthen skin of a New Mexico plateau, Chaco Canyon was once the home of the Anasazi. Skilled laborers carved at the solid rock, forming vertical stair cases and footpaths hundreds of miles long in order to conduct centuries of trade and travel. Their walled ruins remain as a testimony to one of this continent’s most incredible civilizations.

We are so pleased with ourselves when our hands have created objects that survive a few hundred years, a millennia, or more. But the breath of two thousand degrees consumes road, humans, and their homes. The mountains that the flowing rivers of lava envision and rush to fulfill persist for millions of years after we are gone. Our feeble attempts at mourning for the dead will go unnoticed when the fossils of ancient life lie secure in their earthen bed.

I have seen walls that welcome the light of the desert, morning sun. I have been within buildings who’s baked clay and mortar kept prisoners from freezing; alive so that they could be slain the following day. I have placed my hand on the walls that felt the radiance of bullets whose projectile paths were stained with a human heart.

Some walls hold within.
Some walls hold out.
Others cannot bare
the burden we
place on
fall in doubt.

© Kai Staats 1994