The Woodchuck House
I walk out to the old barn with my grandfather.
We stop at the cupola. The woodchuck house, my grandfather called it.
A story, for me.
It sits in a tangle of black raspberry bushes.
A chipped, ceramic bowl rests beside it, forgotten.
It occurs to me years later that once there might have been a dog.
Around the back of the barn
we look at old farm machinery that is stabled like horses.
I am fascinated by these sharp edged hulks.
I understand that we are looking at ghosts.
I stand still and hold my grandfather’s hand
and breathe in the scent of old wood and musty hay.
I know another story.
A team of horses sink into mud in the field across the street.
The farmer pulls them out. Or not.
This is his barn.
My grandparents rent an apartment in his house.
The farmer wears green suspendered trousers and carries a rubber tipped cane,
which he pokes people with when emphasizing a point in conversation.
I think of old bones buried in layers of mud.
Someday I will go to the field and pull those bones from the earth.
Someday I will stand in the shed in my backyard
and breathe in the scent of aging wood
and remember this.