The Barn
Bryan Dietrich (bio)
When we packed it all up—gently used empty spirits
boxes, cardboard hives designed for Big Beauty
tomatoes, mildly odiferous milk crates, newsprint,
poster tubes, strapping tape—neither knew this
would be our last move together. Nor did we
suspect what little we would see of it again. Last
I looked, just before we left, it still stood there,
in the barn, on the farm that’s no longer a farm,
stacked back and back against the black rafters
where digger wasp and wood bee nest. Two
marriages and twenty years later, I still say “Barn”
when asked where X is. It’s not like I give a shit
about the oak table or the waterbed or the tie dyes.
But my first robot, Rom? My remote control R2-D2?
Moon base with rocket launcher and lunar lander?
Barn. My nearly complete set of Micronauts,
Biotron, Baron Karza, and Acroyear included?
Barn. First printing of my first bad book?
Barn. Videosphere, lava lamp, fully articulated
black knight in made-to-scale, pre-pieced armor?
Barn. Original remake of King Kong movie poster,
two hundred Big Little books, Bomba the Jungle
Boy, records, comics, oh God, the comics….
Barn. At this point, it could be anything. Rock’em
Sock’em Robots, Quick Draw McGraw bedsheets,
magic books, smoking skulls, happier sisters.
A mother who doesn’t scream Mrs. Bates, father
who doesn’t have a mind of winter. No bad
students, no bankrupt bookstores. Walter Cronkite
again. Frank Frazetta again. Bradbury. Bradbury.
More poems, more wine, cats that don’t die. All of it
waiting, there in that barn, there among the wood bees.


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