The Other Barn on Blackberry Hill Road

Tom Sheehan

Buried in a wash of vine and leaf,
Dyed of mahogany and dead maize
Left too long to the weathering,
Rebuked it must seem of sunlight
Itself, ripening under dark edges,
One barn on Blackberry Hill Road
Promises itself the next century.

A hundred years of sweat stain
The dark hardness of its guts, its
Boned and inner silhouetting; mock
Residues only now becoming too soft
For its own well-being, the stretch
Of one creature across centuries
Too fallible for the given mark.

I have hidden seventy years of my life
Under these odd posts and beams,
Leaped here headless and heedless
Of the summer’s endings, the fall’s
Short bit of sunlight in eaves full
Oh so full of August madness, sieves
Of my daredeviling at dreaming

And soft crumbling that wood takes
Into itself, the drafty alternate combustion
Of tree, leaf and solitary pod wind-
Swept and flying dry and so deserted
One might think it’s all planned,
The documents scribed later a hundred
Years on the parchments of time.

Probably darker than it ought,
Being so stretched out in centuries,
Wearing years and hard self in grain
Brown and kneeling down and servile;
Which has suffered for cow and horse
And miraculous mule strung in straps
And old leather goods we can smell

As if they have left a bit of bite
For our odoring, luggage creatures
And their skins of redefinement.
Pelts have inked odd stains on walls,
Salt bares frosted marks, and the authority,
The awful and momentous authority,
Of shod hooves carving out erosion.

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