Barn Clothes | Poem by Michael Walsh

Our sense of smell is the one sense most likely to transport us through time.

Our sense of smell is the one sense most likely to transport us through time. A sniff of fried fish on a breeze and I can wind up in my grandmother’s kitchen sixty years ago, getting ready to eat bluegills. Michael Walsh, a Minnesotan, builds this fine poem about his parents around the odor of cattle that they carry with them, even into this moment.

 

Barn Clothes

Same size, my parents stained and tore

alike in the barn, their brown hair

ripe as cow after twelve hours of gutters.

At supper they spoke in jokey moos.

Sure, showers could dampen that reek

down to a whiff under fingernails, behind ears,

but no wash could wring the animal from their clothes:

one pair, two pair, husband, wife, reversible.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2010 University of Arkansas Press, from The Dirt Riddles by Michael Walsh, University of Arkansas Press, 2010. Reprinted by permission of Michael Walsh and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2012 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

 

More in Life

Kiwanis honor four as Students of the Month

Members of the Buckley Kiwanis Club honored a trio of “Students of the Month” during an Nov. 16 gathering.

Santa Patrol ready to roll in Enumclaw, Buckley

With the holiday season in full swing, fire departments are preparing for their annual Santa Patrols that spread cheer throughout Enumclaw and Buckley.

Blaine Larsen returns home for Dec. 2 concert

Blaine Larsen doesn’t perform much these days, instead spending his waking hours pursuing a higher calling.

Giving Trees help kids with Christmas

Nexus Youth And Families Enumclaw is asking local residents to help a child in need this Christmas by participating in the organization’s Giving Tree program.

Santa’s Mystery Brunch: An interactive family whodunit | Pierce County

At “Santa’s Mystery Brunch,” an interactive family whodunit, audience members become detectives to help solve who stole Santa’s magical bag filled with toys and presents.

Enumclaw’s ‘super’ trick or treat event | Slideshow

Check out photos from Enumclaw’s downtown Halloween event!

Fans of fire tower hosting open house

Boosters behind an effort to see a fire lookout tower installed atop Mount Peak are hosting a second public meeting, hoping to gauge public interest in the project.

Parks serves up annual Murder Mystery Dinner on Oct. 27 | Pierce County

For one night in October, the ever popular Murder Mystery Dinner returns to Chambers Creek Regional Park, which sets the stage for a fun, engaging and delicious evening.

Art display by local teachers, students

For the next month, the city of Enumclaw, 4Culture of King County and Arts Alive! will present an exhibition of current works by students of local art class teachers.

Surplus van benefits Enumclaw seniors

A surplus Metro Transit van was donated last week to the Enumclaw Senior Center to assist the facility in meeting a variety of transportation needs.

Preventing a Hepatitis A outbreak | Public Health Insider

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a highly contagious virus. A large outbreak in San Diego, along with outbreaks in Los Angeles and in Salt Lake City has Public Health officials concerned that a hepatitis A outbreak could occur in King County. Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County’s Health Officer, explains who’s at risk and what can be done to prevent an outbreak.

Rescue group aims to save dogs’ lives; Saturday fun run will benefit the cause

All great dogs end with a tail, but this great tale begins with a dog.