SPRING CLEANING
(or AN EMPTY BARN FULL)
Karen Tolman

Old Snowshoes

Aristotle’s haunting our old barn
Proving that a vacuum is abhorred
Old chairs without any legs
And bureaus without any drawers

Mattresses without any bedsteads
A copper still without any rum
Wagon wheels without any cart
And toilets without any plumb

Unharnessed snowshoes deck the walls
Empty grain bins collect at the back
Dulled scythes and bucksaws hang
By the Morgan’s unused leather tack

A good cleaning brought antique dealers
Who saw value in broken-down chairs
And the dumpster is overflowing
With mattresses stuffed with horsehair

And, today, the barn doors remain open
To welcome; but wonder the plight
Of our old New Hampshire barn
Whose vacuum now seeks new life