Collecting bottles, tossing leftovers, taking out the garbage
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Gone the hay. Gone the tools. Gone the morning work.
Over there a tractor rusts. Gone the cows, goats,
the slack-tongued mule. Left are owls & rats, fat, wily cats,
& the field where wild weeds grow.
The farmer, they whisper driving past, knows everything
a body need know about dying. You can tell by how
he doesn’t bother to paint or prop the barn’s worn wood.
Still folks click their teeth & wonder on which day,
at what time, the pitiful barn will give. The farmer, too,
scratches his mighty, balding head.
He’s forgotten the good wood he used,
the hard nails, the friends & their strong backs,
that long-ago barn raising, that cider & fine punch.