Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CORNERSTONE FARM, by ELIZABETH KIRSCHNER

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CORNERSTONE FARM, by            
First Line: Dolor of the ruined barn
Subject(s): Milk; Milkmen; Milkmaids

Dolor of the ruined barn
and Lily in the milk room
dipping the battered pitcher
into silkened whiteness.

When one braid, like a paintbrush,
slips, dimpling the milk,
Lily's father shakes it, quick
as a kitten's tail, but only Lily
sucks the sweetness out,
each strand a straw.

The milk cans swinging
like silver lanterns
at her sides, she walks out -
the darkness, a perfume, blue-
cheeked and cold, sky
from which all stars leave.

The house, welts of tarpaper
exposed like a tree stripped
of its bark, her drunken mother,
moored in the shadowed
doorway, her cigarette

dimly aglow beneath
a remote, snow-wrecked
heaven and Lily
clanging the milk cans
like a bell.

Copyright Elizabeth Kirschner.

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