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BURNING THE BARN

Board by board, the old barn dies.
It wavers in the wind.
Beams shudder with every gust
like the legs of a great beast
trembling with age. Having followed
the swallows inside as they took
possession of the air above the bays,
only weather owns its secrets now.

Soon the snow will come, bringing men with torches.
They will stand together like mourners,
faces shielded from the heat,
watching the barn burn through the night
and go home, chilled and weary,
the smell of wet char in their hair
and the memory of sparks against the sky.

      — Judy Thompson