there is a poet in the barn. climb up to the hayloft and she has covered the walls with words, covered the beams with words, and closer, look closer, hold your breath and swan dive from the edge and you will land graceful and sweet in the loose hay and you will open your eyes and each blade has been given a word.
the cows in their corners and the horses in their stalls. the rooster on the rafter and the owl in the roost. poems.
there is a poet in the barn. a woodpecker in the oak. the sun slides along the horizon and lungs fill with dust.
there is a poet in the barn. the whole town knows she's there. she writes birthday songs and wedding vows and funeral blessings. the whole town knows she's there and on a special day mama might send a little one (oh you hope it's you!) down the road with a fresh loaf of bread, and you will say: what will you give us today? and she will hand off a story, written on a blue glass jar, about the crows that play-dive each other until the sun goes down. or she might crack open that loaf and write in sweet butter the names of all the beautiful things she thought of this morning. the little one (and you hope it's you!) will run fast down the road, kicking up dust and laughing, because going to visit the poet is like christmas, is the day when you are the most special thing, and when you get to town everyone wants to hear what you've been given. they stand around you in a close circle and gasp and smile and hold their fingers to their lips because what you are saying is most delicious and pleasing, and afterwards you get hugs and tousled hair and all day long people are thanking you and even though you didn't write the poem, she wrote it for you and everyone knows it and it is good to be the thing that inspires beauty. so you don't want to be greedy, but you try to be the one mama chooses, every day, or at least every other, to be the one sent down the road to receive the poet's blessing.
Originally published: "there's a poet in the barn." Line Zero. 2 (2011): 111. Print.