Lonely nights I walk to the old
elevator that used to hold Montana

grain: beams rusted, train tracks
ripped out, a patchwork of missing

roof panels framing perfect squares
of starlight: an ambition pursued

for eighty years and eighty years only.
I think of aliens puzzled by this

failure long after we’re gone.
How fickle the human will seem.

How slapdash. How make-do.
And as they tour the world’s ruins,

who’d blame them for assuming
we lived our lives alongside other

species of us? How else to forgive
the dissonance between

the vision that built Venice,
the vision that built Butte?