Beth McDermott

Think map as you inspect what counts or doesn't count
for part of the historical fabric. Just call the chicken house

structure, and move on. What's intact, you've learned,
is the upside of ruinous. What's ruinous is documented

before it disappears. What disappears—this is what it means          
to go out with guns blazing as someone else is taking

the bull by the horns. What you mean to say is that
farmland is perforated by surveyor stakes—you artfully

flag the expandable holes: pools in the yards of new
tract houses, which dwarf the limestone farmhouse. Or so

the caption will one day tell us. At its root, cap-tion is still
attempting to seize. Here is the window of the image,

here's the porch's overhang. Here are the shutter's busted
washboard ribs—think music by the handle of a spoon.



Inspiration for this poem came from thumbing through my town's "Rural Historic Structural Survey," a document in which framing is essentially an act of preservation in an otherwise fluid context.