Another Story with a Burning Barn in It

By Lisa Olstein b. 1972 Lisa Olstein
I was on the porch pinching back the lobelia
like trimming a great blue head of hair.

We’d just planted the near field, the far one
the day before. I’d never seen it so clear,

so gusty, so overcast, so clear, so calm.
They say pearls must be worn or they lose their luster,

and that morning I happened to remember,
so I put them on for milking, finding some

sympathy, I guess, between the two.
Usually I don’t sit down until much later in the day.

The lobelia was curling in the sun. One by one
birds flew off, and that should have been a sign.

Trust is made and broken. I hardly sit down
at all. It was the time of year for luna moths,

but we hadn’t had any yet settling on the porch
or hovering above the garden I’d let the wild rose take.

Lisa Olstein, "Another Story with a Burning Barn in It" from Radio Crackling, Radio Gone. Copyright © 2006 by Lisa Olstein.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Radio Crackling Radio Gone (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)

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Poet Lisa Olstein b. 1972

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Nature, Trees & Flowers, Gardening, Activities

 Lisa   Olstein


Lisa Olstein grew up near Boston, Massachusetts. She received a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her first book of poems, Radio Crackling, Radio Gone (2006), won the Copper Canyon Press Hayden Carruth Award. Olstein is also the author of the poetry collections Lost Alphabet (2009), named one of the nine best poetry books of the year by Library Journal, and Little Stranger (2013). . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, Gardening, Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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