Green Hills Literary Lantern

The Farmhouse



My great-grandfather’s farmhouse in Maine,

where my father spent his early boyhood, is


now a gift shop. You can walk in—we did—

and cruise the unchanged layout of rooms.


This one, my dad said, bore his grandmother’s

cast-iron stove, one so high off the floor he’d


wriggle under it during the deep winter cold,

a practice he shared with the snuggling cat.


Out back stood the woods my father explored.

But long gone are the chicken coops—chickens,


for a while, a decent bonus business for them.

The updated house—all re-shingled, re-roofed,


and re-plastered—now smells of scented candles

and squeaks with the spin of the postcard rack.


But the hidden timbers are original, timbers so

stout and fitted they make further renovation


impossible; timbers fashioned from trees that

grew in and were formed by this humble plot


on which they still work—this homestead

of my father, of myself.



Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, Fulcrum, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The South Carolina Review, and The Sun. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his chapbook Walk With Me was published last year by Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. His most recent collection is While We're Waiting from Aldrich Press (2013) For more information, please visit