By Stuart Dybek b. 1942 Stuart Dybek
In the barn demoted to garage,
the ax in a cherry stump can’t be budged.

Daylight perforates siding despite
the battered armor of license plates—

corroded colors, same state: decay,
their dates the only history

of whoever tilled the soil
and left, as a welcome, the skull

of a possum nailed to the door, and the trail
of lime to the torn sack  

in a corner where cobwebs festoon a scythe.
Rusted sharp, it sings

when he grips its splintery handle, swings,
and crowns topple from Queen Anne’s lace.

Source: Poetry (June 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2012
 Stuart  Dybek


Poet and fiction writer Stuart Dybek was born in 1942 and raised on the South Side of Chicago. He attended Loyola University in Chicago and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His collections of poetry include Brass Knuckles (1979) and Streets in Their Own Ink (2004). His works of fiction, including the short story collections Childhood and Other Neighborhoods (1980) and The Coast of Chicago (1990), and the novel-in-stories I Sailed . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities, Nature, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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