Our Vacant House
by Barbara Ann Smith

Squinting through the brightness,
the road is almost impassable,
circling to the mountain's top.
Once cleared and planted pastures,
now blanketed in weeds, trees and bushes.
It's over forty years
since I last drove across the cattle guard.
It's as strong today as the day I left.

The barn has sunk in the middle:
one side leans to the left,
the tin roof has buckled from gusts.
As a youngster,
I hauled timber to the sawmill
to have boards cut to build it.
Dad's Massey, rusted, tires rotting,
sits outside the crumbling barn.

Our vacant house,
sits, haunted on the rise,
its lopsided porch, missing windowpanes,
faded paint stands out against the skyline.
The cracked wooden well bucket,
hangs like it is still in use.
Getting out of the car,
I spot perennials pushing through the underbrush,
Mom planted them long ago
bending down I caress their petals.

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