You can tell how old this homeplace is
by the outbuilding alone. Hand hewn logs,
mud chinking bleached white by the years.
A Kentucky lean to leaning against nothing,
walls still plumb and level, and the roof line, if the
roof was there, measuring a little lower
in height than one that might be built today.
The farmhouse sits back on the one lane county road
facing the west, overlooking a hayfield
laying low and flat just above where the waters
of Red Lick Creek run to Station Camp. And this field
will to this day spill a long and heavy rain into
a shallow flood that fords across the old road
out of Jinx Holler into the valley beyond.
One side of the peaked metal roof, the side facing
the field, is a mottle of silver rusted to
sienna with gray streaks going to white still bright
in spots in the noonday sun. Crushed tin mailbox mouth
open on the ground. Porch sagging, gutters fallen,
one snagged and hanging parallel to white columns
faithfully upholding the sorrows of time.
Around a bend in the road, where the creek deepens
and the banks grow steep, sits a new A-Frame west coast
type house built with what looks like redwood but likely
is stained yellow pine. Sitting half way up the ridge,
driveway paved, big double paned windows with a view
of the valley priced out of reach. A store bought shed
and a new plank fence for one lonely grass-fat horse.
Time after time places change and stay the same.
The old house along the Murphy Ford Road contrasts
but does not differ from the new one squatting there.
We think outsiders walk over and take our things,
but it’s the passing days that give and take away
the ground we stand on. We all lose our place soon
enough to the thievery of eternal time.