The First Foundation

by Mary Buchinger

………………………………..—I knew intimately held up
my father’s barn, built by German farmers a hundred years
.earlier. I would enter its dark on my stomach, feeling
.for glass in the dirt—broken bottles the hired men
..tossed between timbers thick

as two of me. Once within, I’d worm
my arms down to my sides and turn onto my back
…..to face the knotted and slatted floor above me and study
……a portion of a worn tire of the John Deere.
Bandy roosters tip-tapped their way

across the floor looking for stray grain, slipping
a yellow claw now and then down the narrow slits between
..planks. With my fingers I’d trace the hatchet gouges
on the fat timbers on each side of me and bits of old
bark that had escaped the ax

…………and I would stay in that dark place
lying still, listening for creaks, the rasp of wood
against wood, the constant cooing of pigeons
low swoosh of darting swallow wings and imagine
the weight of the whole grey barn

above me. My knee hard up against a foundation boulder
…..I’d imagine I was that boulder—smooth, cold,
old as the earth—with all that weight above pinning
.me down, and make myself stay there, stay, stay—
until I could hardly breathe.

Mary Buchinger’s poems have appeared in Cortland Review, RUNES, Slice, The Massachusetts Review, Versal, and other journals. Her collection, Roomful of Sparrows, was a semi-finalist in the New Women’s Voices Series. She teaches writing and communication studies at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston.