County Road 79,
A bridge over the ditch holding
Dark water, a tangled ball of barbed wire,
And a Coke can pink from the sun.
With the slow sway of seventy years,
I cross it to a far off place,
In another time.
White barn leaning
Into the slight breeze from the east,
The paint fading to gray,
Gravity pulling planks
Like rotted teeth,
To the ground.
Here my hands bled,
Red life soaking
Into the grains of the pine handle
Of my pitchfork,
While horses impatiently stomped
Their hooves, stirring
Dust into the early morning air.
Here on a summer night,
Her arms slid around my waist
And we moved slow while cows watched,
Worn work boots shuffling
Through straw scattered on the dirt floor,
Her laughter and smile rising
To the red tin roof
Where swallows tilted their heads
At the sound of Hank Jr calling
From an old Zenith sitting
Next to a coffee can full of bent nails.
Leaning against the doorframe,
I admired an artist named God,
With the sun peaking
Over an Indiana meadow,
An early autumn mist hanging
Below the eastern hill,
My heart absorbing
The pink and lavender that came
With the promise of the new day.
It lies in the worn, weathered boards,
The pits of the rusted nails,
The split of a window frame gone gray,
Patches of cracked hand poured concrete.
And it’s love.
Smiling, I wipe my eyes
And cross the fieldstone bridge,
Only stopping to stoop,
Shake out the Coke can,
And push it into the pocket of my overalls.
—by Scott Sprunger