Barn Gothic

William Wright Click to

William Wright is the author of four full-length books and four chapbooks. His full-length books are Tree Heresies (Mercer University Press, 2015), Night Field Anecdote (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011) and Bledsoe (Texas Review Press, 2011).  Series editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology (Texas Review Press), Wright has recently published work in Beloit Poetry Journal, Greensboro ReviewKenyon ReviewColorado Review, Indiana Review, AGNI and North American Review.  He is founding editor of Town Creek Poetry. Wright also edited Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry (with Daniel Cross Turner), due out from the University of South Carolina Press in 2015. Wright will serve as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee in spring of 2016.

Red as a cardinal in winter, it leans ruined
in the gray field, form falling against a sycamore,
its older, wiser wife.

Closer in, a fox den
in the hay tunnel light where green eyes haunt
the nearby woods and stars cast silver

glyphs on the rotting floor:
Rain has felled the structure’s roof.
Here horses pitched and leaned

into chaff, awaiting work,
this room still alive in smells of oil, dung,
and cedar-heart. Swallows twig

warped boards, black widows
float, wait
in corners to wrap and gore what passes.

Wasps caulk the loft’s cracked seams,
and mice hide from owls, eyes,
their lives the barn’s heart

beating behind the walls.

What to name it but beauty
this world craves, but will never allow,
not wholly,

the horsemint scent that finds
the barn’s chinks. Moonflower
gripping, twining

the rusted scythe and the burled
yawn of the caved-in door. Or the beauty earth
sculpts of us without consent,

remnants hallowed, restored.
Autumns, when the air shucks
summer rain to hollow starriness,

the moon strikes the barn just right:
White moths hoard here where hanging
lanterns have long been snuffed,

where the only fires are the moths themselves,
their flock  come to love this place and perhaps
the stars, too, all pure, radiant, dying.


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