HOME PLACE                    
The ridgeline sways like a nag in her last days.
Tar slips off the ruined roof like an avalanche off an Alp.
Inside the old haymow, no one dares step on boards
Made fragile as empty honeycombs by water
That first seeped, then dripped, soon streamed, now simply pours
Through pig-sized holes ripped open by neglect to the provident skies.

But a floor below, butted into the hill like a basement, is another place
Safe and calm and quiet as the sun, like you can be,
Beaming through the bank of southern solid-framed windows
Down a short alley of stanchions with their curved rails that kept cows separate
To the still white-washed north wall, plumb and strong and regular
As the progression of the seasons.

From here, out windows to the west and east,
The view sings across soft row and swale of fields
To distant houses bobbing on a warm ocean of corn stubble
And a low line of highway so far removed it is silent behind trees.

The world passes by, and I,
I could live here in this whitewashed splendor
Serene as those long-gone cows chewing their cuds,
Satisfied as a young farmer with his wife and his life among animals,
Enchanted by the farm of our future,
Nestled into the red barn of your heart.

Mary Mullen
4/5 & 4/6/96