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The Barn, Sarah Morris Shux

One of my first memories of childhood was watching the barn burn/thick, black smoke escaping into the sky/like a murder of angry crows/my mom, crying, “My barn, I loved that barn.”/my father burned it down/by accident/while burning garbage in the driveway/the barn, red and full of ancient hay/caught a spark as quick and fatal as a spoonful of paint thinner/the animals ran for the woods/I sat on the porch watching it burn/the barn, once my playhouse/my father huddled on the porch/carsick with guilt/when he opened his mouth/only ash came out/my mother, as helpless and stiff as the buck my father had hung in the tree last season/he had left it there for days/ “it takes a while to drain”/years later we visited that house/I was grown then/ it was now owned by a Mennonite family/they pointed out the original stenciling on the stairs/that my mother had hand painted/when we first moved in/she mentioned the barn burning/ “it was like an inferno”/my mother kept an album full of pictures/of the before/and after/

and my father/had never been a phoenix/this is the last house I remember living in with him there/he smelled like that black smoke/for years


Sarah Morris Shux (she/her) is a poet, screenwriter and short story writer currently living in Los Angeles with her very loud Siamese cat, King Tut. When she isn't writing she enjoys watching/reading anything horror related, roller skating, spending too much money on vinyl records and plants and stress baking.

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