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THE BARN / Edison Dupree Sometimes with bloody squirrels hung behind my waist in a hunting coat, I stood in that bare field, forests away from town with a shotgun, watching. When tall sunset clouds lay down in blood above the pines, I watched. I watched the woods edge where my uncle's tobacco barn sat and sagged. I watched the wind tease green tarpaper rags out straight from the barn's lean sides, and I thought of seven decades, packed down tightly out of the sky to fill that barn with a dark smell, like bad tobacco or my uncle's luck. He lived in town now, laid somebody's Goddamn bricks for wages, hid his face behind his beer. II Ten years now without the gun my hand still itches for. I'm grown I guess. Now it's spring, and I stand in the same field, imagining how a house in one of Cezanne's noonorange lonely towns loses its people. War and old age steal them, or they steal themselves, move to jobs, and soon their hollow house begins to rise. Windows shuttered inward, the front door dried shut like a mouth that never speaks again among strangers, 40 ¦ The Missouri Review that house climbs out of those blue hills. It floats up light as a moon whose face is all soft scars. It drifts everywhere, for decades, over countrysides of farmers kicking windows out of their stalled trucks; over small wooden towns with one stoplight blinking red, red; over the white cities that strain upward like rockets. Adrift, alone, wrecked by weather, that house never looks down. Every day it forgets more, until one evening it sinks to earth, tired, beside pine woods. Now animals come. With bits of leaf and straw they begin their flimsy nests. A boy is watching and he shoots them. Edison Dupree The Missouri Review · 41 ...


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