"Buildings can't want."—Donald Rumsfeld
Neither does the ax regret each tree it has bitten,
though it leans against the shed
like a drunk locked out of his own house.
The tractor doesn't moon
over the physique of its youth.
The dry birdbath makes no plans
for the future.
What can the barn recall of the day
you climbed the ladder into its loft and found
a pair of buzzard chicks
skulking among the hay bales?
Your grandfather shot them with a pistol
and kicked them out of the haymow for you
to carry to the ditch beyond the field.
Does the barn remember those shots
exploding inside it like a burst neuron?
The weight of those bodies thudding to earth?
Can the field remember your feet crossing it, the air
heavy with crickets?
Does the ditch remember the bones the coyotes
gnawed and scattered?
You stand here, where the walnut tree was felled,
one foot on the smooth disc of the stump.
The grass makes no demands on your soul.
The cow paths are as forgetful as the rain.
If it is possible,
grown over with morning glories
is less than indifferent to silence.