In A Deserted Farmhouse

Richard D. Houff

We stumbled upon a patch of trees
surrounded by tall prairie grass that reclaimed
the clapboard home, and ventured inside to explore.

We found a Victorian winged-back couch
and nothing more as we moved from room to room.

On a dare to descend into a dark root cellar,
there were no takers from our group.

Although heavily armed with squirrel rifles
and shotguns from a day of hunting rabbits;
we all had our hidden fears, and ghost trouble
was at the top for each and every one.

Deserted farm homes were scattered
throughout the county, and in our limited travels;
we had rummaged through several on previous outings.

Everyone that we knew had heard of government controlled
farming, but very few within our domain understood
the outcome of losing one’s sense of place.

It all hit home one day
at a farm auction our family attended.

Watching the personal belongings of those affected
on the auction block; I felt a growing sense of despair.

Stripped and abandoned, I couldn’t help wonder
what would become of them.

A neighbor within earshot said, that they would probably
head west on Hwy. 16 looking for work; maybe end up
in some California factory doing assembly.

Nobody knew for sure what became of folks
out on the road, but over a three year period,
I watched a steady migration of friends and neighbors
take part in this growing ritual.

No one ever returned, and few kept in contact.

And then one day it was my turn to join
the procession among the lost.