The only image of the old farmhouse
hung for years, small on the living room wall–
a hand-colored photograph framed in wood.
This profile view of weathered, clapboard home
breathed ruin. Orange tongues traced the roofline,
shot from every window, tumbled through walls
already gone, roared out open-mouth porch
overhung by attic lip. Smoke billowed,
beams borne away as gray ash. All lost: home
forever standing, forever burning.

[The farmhouse burned down 75 years ago today (19 October 1940)]

8 thoughts on “Shrine

  1. Wow- really hit a nerve. Just visited the burnt remains of my bf’s cabin. Although it was no longer legally his – it will always be ‘his’ as he built it with his own hands. It burned completely in the recent WA fires. I asked him if he wanted a rock or just anything from its foundation. He replied, “no, but take a picture of it with me. “.

  2. “Forever standing, Forever burning” is a solid close. Your choice of line breaks there pulls it out of the particular case (but not too far!) and thus touches on a more universal condition–humans are great at memorializing the ephemeral, at “hand coloring” (as you put it) lost moments in an attempt to keep them with us.

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