by Emily Sharp
The ruined barn stares at the road,
which doesn’t even notice.
The road is too busy
carrying the weight of travelers
elevated by hills
and brought back down.
They hurry past the splintered wood
subtracting itself from a once sturdy frame.
Sun streams through its gaping holes,
like a moth-eaten rag hung out to dry.
It leaves slender shadows.
A turtle’s shell, cracked asymmetrically, lies
on the grassy side of the yellow line,
life unexpectedly shaken from it,
insides carried away by a hungry animal.
It saw the road too closely,
could pick out different colors of individual pebbles,
feel the hot asphalt under it’s tough, leathery skin,
but missed the big, bright cars approaching.
Grass surrounds the barn
and spring will bring weeds
that little girls think
are flowers to lace into chains
to wear as crowns
or scatter as wishes with sharp breaths,
seeds spreading like whispers across a playground.
The barn to the child feels like a secret,
like crawling under
the deep, dark porch
where notes and treasures are hidden
or into the ancient attic
to dress up in dust-covered hats.
The child cannot see from her barn
the turtle’s shell split to pieces.
The grass and beautiful flowers
grow too high.