April 1, 2013
Barn Elegy

The city sends the men to burn.

When we stand on the porch to watch

 

them douse the tumbled beams

in kerosene, to see the empty silo sink

 

to soot, you unloose your hand.

You shade your eyes against the flame.
 

You say, It’s best. It’s in this town’s

best interest, the papers say, the marshal says—

 

say the men sent to rehearse the rescue.

Now, when I wake, another house

 

is risen on ash. Again, the scorched world

thirsts. When the new wife calls her husband

 

out to the yard, to lie against her in the grass,

I dream I hear another woman’s voice calling

 

up from a well. Were this another century,

I would break, each morning, the pail’s lip

 

of ice. Were this another century, you would stay

because there’d be no other place to go.

 

—Jennifer Luebbers  (Monroe County)

This poem first appeared in Washington Square Review.

 

Jennifer Luebbers’ work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, and Washington Square Review, among other journals. She has held scholarships and fellowships at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, New York State Summer Writers Institute, and Indiana University, where she is an MFA candidate in creative writing and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Indiana Review.

Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.

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