Rubble, Barn Style

A Poem by Tom Sheehan

Dust from last century
settles deeper, tattles
tales when jammed open
by a heavy broom, a toe

dragged through lifelines,
the demise of contours.
Barns this size, kneed
in the groin by January

storms, wet coughs of April,
August retreats from fire
when gummed capillaries
draw back to old dowsing

grounds, always show age,
the way blue ribbons are worn.
Sun, even a dish-bright moon,
occasionally a star if you’re

still in your tracks, breathless,
hoist themselves where nails
fell to mines of earth.
But it is here that iron

and wood trade final secrets.
Under rust’s thickest scab
the metal keeps its black shine;
abrade it with rock and stone

and the line of light leaps out,
like the flesh of wood flashes
its white mysteries orbiting
marks of lunar growth.

A mole tortures underground,
a host of bats above like gloves
hang to dry in the dim light,
and in twisted byroads

and blossoming paths the termites,
carpenter ants and dust beetles
chew the cud of oak sills, risers
an ash released to a two-hand saw,

and green pine checked, stippled,
full of eyes where knots let go.
Square nails, blunt as cigars,
suddenly toothless, a century

of shivering taking its toll,
shake free as slow as worms.
For all the standing still,
there’s action, warming, aging,

the bowing of an old barn,
ultimate genuflection.

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