We gathered at Niedermeyer’s house the next week.
Standing around with our hands in our back pockets,
some of us hummed, some of us kicked clods of earth
from mud ruts. Then someone—I think it was Stan,
or someone just like Stan—suggested we build
the Niedermeyers a barn. And that’s what we did.
We built them a barn in the shape of a seven year old boy.
The roof was a baseball hat, the side door smelled of bubble gum.
The hayloft we made out of denim. When we’d finished—
when the last lick of paint completed the backpack and the lunch box—
we packed up our caring hearts and walked down the drive
back towards town. The last one looked back, saw
Mr. and Mrs. Niedermeyer walking toward the barn
with milk and cookies on a tray. Mr. Niedermeyer
held the barn door open as Mrs. Niedermeyer
ducked her way in with the tray. Mr. Niedermeyer
followed and the barn door slammed shut.
The thump crossed the cornfields.