Momma called it the Movie Star Barn because a man came once
and asked to film there. He never did, but Grandad painted it bright red
and the doorframes stark white every year after until he died. Then the paint
peeled into parchments Brenda and I wore like curly-cues in our hair. After
a while, it didn’t peel at all. The air was a thick grey in there, I could feel
the grainy dark on my face and fingers for hours after I was out. The light
streaks followed their own logic, something different than the sun.
Next door was the chicken coop my Granny went to every morning
more early than I could try to help her. I’ve always been a late riser, like
the moths, my Granny said. The chickens pecked and ran and made
me feel like I was Moses when I walked in. Sometimes they let me watch
them lay. Brenda put her hands beneath them and pulled out eggs, but I
was too afraid for that. They plucked each other’s feathers and still sat
next to each other in the roost. That was love, I thought. Still do.