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History Burns (Barn Fire)


A rancid odor wakes me; the nightmare begins.

Almost dawn and smoke overwhelms.

A stench settles outside,

animals utter ungodly noises.

Doom wafts over my Kentucky farm.


Flames of red, purple, and orange catch my eye,

crashes and crackles cry out to heaven.

Frightened, panic pours over me,

a fire rages out of control,

a century old barn burns.


Chaos takes over, destruction everywhere

fire crews battle, sparks stray.

Generations of farmers, a legacy extinguished.

Long, black hoses snuff out the blaze.

Shame consumes me like a backdraft.


Some animals escape; cattle, hogs, chicken run wild,

then, I smell the stench of death and seared flesh.

Ash covers annihilated farm equipment.

Charred wood is incinerated dreams.

Did I lose this family heritage tonight?


Like a ghost among yellow-jacketed men,

I see through sullen eyes.

Everything drenched in water.

Fire chief yells, “Electricity added to barn.”

I’m a watered-down farmer, drowning in my guilt.


Was progress the culprit?

Tears of regret flow down,

the ancient sweat of kin scattered to the winds.

An eerie grey smoke drifts,

hides sooty face from ancestral disgrace.


Published by: Losantiville Press, Change Happens 

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