Visible Time

© Matthew Word Bain

look at how the road rides high
which came first, I wonder
would an architect
have designed this building
to inhabit this location in this way?

perhaps my perspective is skewed by time
having received a way of seeing things
that was born after this building
was ever conceived of
so that my perception is unwittingly
anachronistic, and just because I imagine the world
always was the way it has been
in my experience
this does not make it so
and my perception and I stand
to benefit from my coming to terms
with the influence of my received opinion
on my own process of understanding
how things came to be this way

and yet, from my years of observations
of the way things are and the way things were
and the way things change over time
I am confident the siting
of this building
adjacent to this road
is a result of road widening
more than an architect’s decision
because roads have a tendency to widen
and buildings have a tendency to stay in place
until the uneasy tension between them
results in the displacement
of one or the other