There was moss growing
on the stones where the water
ran across it coming from the spring
and a big looming cottonwood
giving shade and life back just like
the spring gave it life.
My dad hung a board on a couple of
old braided ropes coiled on the barn floor
dusty and streaked with grease
but strong enough to hold all of us
kids combined. We’d swing in the day
on an arc, like the sun but more to the north and south,
and mother would sit there too in the evening glow
telling stories landing as quick in her head
as the flies on the kitchen screen door. We’d all
listen, faces like upturned bowls to gather
the words floating in the thick air of late summer.
Afterwards we’d all sit awhile, just the buzz of flies
and the rasp of crickets in the corn. The yawning countryside
would grow even bigger in that envelope of silence. We’d sit
till the sun dipped down on its way to light up California or
some other place we could only dream about. It wasn’t long
after that the machines came and tore it all up.
It seems that we gave it all away.

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