It settles comfortably into the field, sides spraddled and roof bowed.
There are wife gaps in its siding and the door closes crookedly.
Its age shows.
Weeds sprout and cover the windows
that once let in the early morning light for milking;
the cows are gone, the farmer too, and what hay remains
is rank with mold and dust.
The barn remembers better days
when the cows ambled in at dusk for their sweet feed
and the farmers pitched down hay from the mow.
Pigs rooted in their trough, grunting with pleasure to find
a stray bit of grain or perhaps a bit of potato peel;
horses stamped in their stalls, nuzzling feedbags
and their harness hung neatly, oiled and mended,
on the rough oak walls.
The barn remembers the children
who swung on ropes, played hide-and-seek
in the horses’ stalls, helped pitch hay into the mow
and milked the cows with their heads nestled into the cows’ sides,
the pungent smell of manure mixing with steam from the milking pail.
The barn shudders, sighs, and settles more firmly into the earth;
tomorrow men will come with trucks, saws, chains, and other tools.
By evening, the barn will be no more than a pile of smoking rubbish,
all the good wood carried off to be used as paneling for upscale homes
in some distant city where the memory of barns
has faded into books of history
that stand dusty on library shelves.