Issue 18 | Summer 2016

[The Clean Lines of the Barn…]

by Erin Elkins Radcliffe

The clean lines of the barn and the house betray no hesitation: in the shed, the awl, the hammer, and the wrenches cling neatly to their place

Here is the steady movement of food from root and seed to vein and flower—from dirt to mouth to dirt again

Here are the potatoes planted on Good Friday, their eyes glistening as corn bloats in lye.  Here’s a rind, a remainder, the sacks of summer squash and red-pink Brandywines to gift to a neighbor and not to waste

Here are shards of arrowheads, the gills of fish run cold with polychlor.  The turpentine for the chilblains these children never had, the unseen thing that might clabber the milk, the river and creek overrun with rain—

The ropes our own viscera might make if they were long enough to hang.


Erin Elkins Radcliffe‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit Review, Smartish Pace, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. Originally from Indiana, Erin lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her family. More of Erin’s work can be found at


Filed under: Poetry