I remember Indiana, and riding with my grandmother in her ’57 Ford on the road to Lowell, asking why the barns had names on them, those sturdy gray bodies rising through golden looms of corn, the slow shuttle of cattle lowing outside the open doors. And that barn across the field from the grammar school where we played ball at recess, how sometimes I’d go off alone, lean on the fence and stare, Arthur’s Knights and Vikings of the north fighting it out in castles of hay. That rule the teachers had about never crossing the fence, the barn always there, always outside my reach. It builds itself now, as it has before, in the shadows between things, like the night in the cabin in northern Colorado, rising there in the scent of wet pine, the wooden silence of water under the bridge, building on the flat of a stone that split the river as it crossed into two paths, like so many graveyard shifts at the brickyard in East Chicago, calloused hands of press operators, sweat seeping through blue workshirts into the 3 a.m. lunchroom, their tired smiles over coffee in the silence that hummed inside steam drifting like small fragments of some larger breath we all shared, like that afternoon last fall, the tall African student with that bulky fur coat and white stocking cap, frightened in the shuffle between classes, how I wanted to reach out, hold him, how I even dreamed about him, and when I turned the next day in the lunch line to tell Jim, he was there again, behind him, holding a bowl of lettuce and a soup spoon, same coat and hat . . . Out of the tall grass the barn rises, rises beneath the maples, within the solitude of shade, between each worm-chewed leaf. But the barn rises and falls as we move. Because we rarely know the right words, because touching only brings us just outside our reach, because we are only shadows drifting beneath broad maple leaves when the butterfly begins to sing us in its sleep, the barn shifts its tired feet and sinks slowly into layers of phlox and maple.