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Craig Sipe

Sunday Open House in the Country

Sheds are useful things, like tools,

so the vise and crank-stone grinder

were still mounted to the bench

by the back window. And measuring

containers continue to serve a purpose, so

the grade school milk bottle once used

to parse out two-cycle oil still lived,

though strangely now, by a resin owl,

who kept its own confidence. But the trace

of grass long thrown was the olfactory soul

of the place when this was his grandfather’s

farm, and the two of them overturned

Lawn Boys to scrape out undercarriages thick

with the dank green pack of their summers.

And the seasons peeled off like deep

mown ribbons through goldenrod fields,

and blackberry-brambled hillsides

rounded back up the tractor ramp,

carpeted in pine needles, to the red barn doors

of the shed, where he takes in

the tool’s myth of fixing things. The ReMax

agent lurks by the stoop with a clipboard,

looking back at him, brooding next

to the saws, and thinks he has a live one.


Craig Sipe is the author of the poetry collections Lovely Dregs and Hero Sandwich. His work has appeared in journals including The Maine Arts Journal, Right Hand Pointing, and Iconoclast. He is a poetry editor and audio editor for the quarterly art and poetry journal The Café Review, Portland, Maine. He lives on Orr’s Island in Maine.


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