Rural Renewal

When they pulled down the horse barn, my husband told them

Doze it flat.  First it creaked, then crashed

in a cloud of dust, a boy’s dream of destruction.

We didn’t know any better.  To us it was just

 an eyesore, leaning like a parallelogram,


liable to fall on someone.  Saleable timbers,

planks, foundation stones once hauled there

in the embrace of chains, black earth

enriched by generations of horses crunched

and smeared under the excavator’s treads. 


Two hours’ work and we had a view of the pasture

across a patch of ground impervious

to shovel or plow, too treacherous to mow,

salted with iron cut nails.  Where buried wood

decayed, dirt subsided, forming hollows


for burdock and thistle.  Frost heaved juts of granite

above the surface, and scattered holes appeared,

entries to a woodchuck stronghold.

Now  I live here alone.  I’ve salvaged the stones

that could be dug out for a wall, backfilled


with soil,  planted grass and a white oak.

The oak’s only ten feet tall, shaped like a fat-

flamed candle, but should grow to eighty feet

with massive  roots.  I picture it rearranging

rocks, drawing strength from the barn’s remains.


       Karie Friedman

       From The Naugatuck River Review, Winter 2012