Nick Ripatrazone

wet stalks of wheat lean
against mottled burgundy paint:
a dappled barn, batten winking
with each shift of cloud.

rain-filled gutters rupture
like stretched bladders
and the barn soaks.

like Patricius and Augustine
my father and I walk together
between forms brown and wet
and we watch the backhoe raze
the barn down and so goes
what happened inside. Walls
have memory: smoke colors
apple-print wallpaper, sheetrock
scars from nails, screws, hooks.

walls level the wheat,
nodded heads flatten
like stalks pressed beneath boots.
kernels flutter, then fall.

rain obscures my father’s face.
he could be somebody else
or nobody at all
and I wonder about
the bodies of saints.

Nick Ripatrazone lives with his wife in New Jersey. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, Sou’wester, The Los Angeles Review, and The New York Quarterly. A staff writer for Luna Park Review, he is pursuing an MFA from Rutgers University.