Barn on the Iowa Prairie by Arlin Buyert

She was at the heart:
rock foundation,
skeletal oak beams punctuated with wood pegs,
the warm and moist cream room,
hay mow on the second floor,
high hip roof with wood shingles,
faded red paint with white trim,
crowned with a galvanized cupola
that we could see for miles.

She held stories like a dusty scrapbook
about pigeons, snakes and mice,
the neighbor girl’s kiss,
Dad’s dark December doubt,
sifting snow through the cracks,
calves born and nursed, cows milked by hand,
kittens nestled in the manger,
prayer with Mom when Grandpa died,
horror when our bull killed my uncle
in a stall that was never again.

Now she is dirt
and I hear the nearby brook murmur
like wine into a chalice.


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