Barn Swallows

They made a sound like wind
coming to life, ignition that always
startled me, though I knew
the swallows would be sleeping there.
They hid where I wanted to hide,
up in the rafters, up above the loft,
above the broken tobacco sticks,
unstrung bales of hay, cracked tires,
barbed edges of nails, staples, and wire.

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Jesse Graves  is the author of two poetry collections, including the recently released Basin Ghosts, and Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, which won the Weatherford Award, the Appalachian Writers' Association Book of the Year in Poetry, and the Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award. He is a native of Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, and teaches at East Tennessee State University.

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