There was a time
when I visited rural Wisconsin
in the summers—August,
actually; a good time to leave Oklahoma heat
and travel north.
The farms there were picturesque—
red barns seemingly freshly painted,
manicured homesteads. I marveled
how much tidier they look
than some of our Oklahoma farms,
including ours. Different ethics, I suppose.
And while I love looking at the beautiful
Wisconsin farms, I can’t bring myself
to apply that ethic
We patch and mend
old barns
that lean more each year
and drip during rains.

An old shed in the corral
was beyond mending.
Half its replaced roof lay in the pasture
for a couple of years now.
Finally, someone showed up
to take the old shed,
from our grandparents’ era,
down. The next issue—one
that paralyzed me for too long—
was what to do with the pieces.
Haul them several miles to a landfill,
burn them and haul some,
or bury everything.
Pollution, every which way you look.
As we know,
when throwing things away,
there is no “away.”
Letting it sit on the prairie,
leaning, flying in the wind,
avoided the “away” issue.
But eventually, the issue had to be faced
and last week a new member of our community
(Ironically, he moved to Oklahoma because
environmental regulations in California
were so costly.)
brought his big machinery,
ripped the old shed down
in less than an hour,
then dug a hole
and buried the whole lot,
including a pile of broken concrete
that had been sitting in the pasture for years.
I have no idea where it came from,
or why the pasture was its
throwing-“away” place.
There it all is now,
in the good earth,

We repaired the fence that one end of the barn
was holding up. Now the alpacas
have a clear view to the west,
cattle will have to find shelter
along the tree-lined creek
and the eyesore—
save for one old pole that stands
next to a water hydrant—
has gone away.
at least we can’t see it.