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The Barn’s last winter.

the family, despite our agonized tears, thinking of life without it, we were descended from emigrant stock, people with eyes to the horizon, and we, too, had made lives elsewhere. None of us could take it over. We were coming to accept, slowly, we could keep only the spirit of our beloved home. We’d be selling the farm. Our mother was alone and the barn was falling down. n Donna Salli holds a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from UMass, Amherst. A poet, essayist, fiction writer and playwright, she lives in Brainerd and teaches at Central Lakes College. Her novel, “A Notion of Pelicans,” will be released from North Star Press later this year.

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and put it back together in the woods, where it couldn’t be seen. Many families did the same and later moved their houses back. When Paappa was 8 years old, he watched his father finally move their house back, closer to where it had been. It must have been disquieting to him, to realize how vulnerable the family had been, and in fact still was. No wonder, when he’d grown up, he loved his own safe piece of earth. My brother is a hard worker. He dismantled the barn by himself, with help from a cousin to take the highest boards down. In what seemed a very short time, the barn’s walls were gone, and it was just a roof on upright supports. As I stood and looked at its skeletal frame, I knew we’d been seeing over the last months what Mummu saw as the barn was going up, only in reverse. My heart ached, thinking of what she felt as she watched the work progress, fragrant board after board, nail after shiny nail — the anticipation, the years of marriage still ahead, the children that would be born, weddings, grandchildren. Now, here we were, razing the barn. An enemy that could scale any hill and could see into the densest stand of trees had passed and changed everything. It had taken our father. By the time my brother went back to work on the barn the following spring — it having somehow survived a winter of heavy snow, tilting even more — we’d had family discussions enough to understand that razing it was the first step toward a likely sad outcome. My mother owned the farm, of course, but we all thought of it as ours. Despite our grandparents’ hope the farm would stay in

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Her Voice Magazine Spring 2016 issue  

Living Through Lyme Disease: This woman overcame the odds of a debilitating disease to run a marathon. • Razing the Barn: In her personal es...

Her Voice Magazine Spring 2016 issue  

Living Through Lyme Disease: This woman overcame the odds of a debilitating disease to run a marathon. • Razing the Barn: In her personal es...

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