Christopher Howell

When they tore down the barn
they found bits of tack and harness,
sleeping messages from the kingdoms
of dirt and rust, the shadows of ancient horses
smoking out of them like sadness
and blowing away.

When they dozed up ground where the barn
had been, they found the grave
of a ’27 Ford pickup
surgically altered to serve as a poor excuse
for a tractor.

They chopped down the orchard, dug
out the berry rows, flattened the greenhouse,
installed a paved lane and then a row
of double wide rentals.

When at last nothing remained
of the old place but the pit from which
they had extracted the Ford, they planted a few petunias
around it, imagined it might make a fine
fish pond, went away
and forgot it.

Others came and built and stayed
and went away.
Rain continued in its season. Wind
uttered its choral remarks. The cloudy light
seemed to love nothing
but black branches and grass, once in awhile
a bright red leaf.

Originally appeared in Terrain

Return to Spring 2016 Table of Contents