In conclusion

Walking the back alleys along the river valley edge  

I find I’m always drawn toward the flaking fence paint  

the muted dusty blue of bygone skies across a garage door while the grey-rot white disappears into the oblivion of time


It is only after noticing the pull of decay that I realize I haven’t even thought about the valley to my right

the way it devours shopping carts and the cast off clothes of the homeless 

the way all that God has made is good and I should offer praise for every little leaf we have not ruined


but I’ve given my praise away already


praise to the mural of an old pioneer fading away on a neighbour’s garage, 

protected by the same fence that obscures it

praise to the workers restoring concrete in the strip mall parking lot

praise for the wafting smell of donairs so close to lunch time

praise for the old car half covered and rusting to her bolts

praise for the tired man who owns the car and will not let her be dishonored

praise for his little secret smiles on seeing the car some sunny Saturdays and planning to restore her

praise for the failing fences and the collected curiosities of the hoarder’s backyard

praise for the basketball net left here for a kid with full knowledge that it must be shared with every passer by


praise for all this broken wonder  


is this not the song I have been singing all along? 

Redeem! Redeem! Redeem!