Farmstead by Mark Belair

Photo of old house on hill
Photo by David T on Unsplash
Alone, timeworn—but still
standing, even if its paint-scuffed radiators
give no heat and its window frames
leak and its doors don’t
shut tight, everything foundering
since its elder keepers
died, the next generation, though
paying the property taxes, too dispersed
to steward or even sell it,
the farmstead’s absent
presence like a stark stare
from the back end of old age, from a hardened place
that sees our younger, ongoing lives—
no matter how well built—
as false fronts
set for collapse; sees our blossoming memories
forming, like the farmstead’s (love in the bedroom,
children in the kitchen, friends and business in the parlor)
as tangled dreams
doomed to swirl back
down into our dark, obliterating,
earth-dug foundations: a stare
of merciless detachment
held so it can depart, without looking back
in sorrow, from its
once-blossoming, ongoing, merciful life.

Mark Belair
Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. Author of seven collections of poems, His most recent are the companion volumes Taking Our Time and Running Late (Kelsay Books, 2019). Belair has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize multiple times, as well as for a Best of the Net Award. Please visit to find more of his work.

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