Barn Wreck
SUNY Jefferson
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Barn Wreck

Ann Clark-Moore, 1996

I have moved to a country
where gray barns
painted once with red and white
but blasted by wind and dried by years
are let fall in of their own accord.
Like the spars of wrecked ships
in a sea of winter
the few support beams
reach up from the rubble of loft and stalls.
A piece of tin roofing
hangs aslant one tilting mast,
bangs and skitters in the ceaseless empty wind.
In the place I grew up
barns were kept up, painted, willed into place
by endless work of hands calloused from the cold
and torn by barbed wire.
Only farms with no owner,
and those were very few,
were allowed to sink beneath the surface,
the waves of weedy hay, burdocked and milkweeded,
or farms owned by the no-account
and their barns never actually fell
except in the most heavy and sudden snowfalls.
But in this place
the winter wind sings sea chanties
in the useless rigging of hay mow and elevator
and accompanies itself with the bendings’ scree and hollow
of hanging tin roofing
of the many falling
and the fallen.