Often an inchoate voice screams
from inside the whitewashed shed
and, for a time, we ascribe it to Yahweh,
as none of the tools seem capable
of such a sound.

There is the rumor that great-grandfather
beat his children in that shed
with his belt and sometimes the buckle,
but there is no record of it
in grandfather’s diary.

So maybe, it is the ghost of every time
grandfather never said I love you
to grandmother, but instead
remained as silent as the corn
and now his ghost yells from purgatory
trying to learn the words
that unlock heaven’s gate.


To learn more about Kenneth P. Gurney visit

Gurney is editor of Adobe Walls, a semi-annual anthology of New Mexico poetry.