Thursday, July 28, 2011

Faulty Fences

“Your cows are in my corn,” Turner’s voice rasped             
over the party line, when my mother                                                
answered the three longs and two shorts, our call                 
to a community that bound us, wired                                    
us to the lives of neighboring farms                                       
as surely as fences that separated us.                                    

“Hey guys, the cows are out,” mother told us
as we came to table, our chairs rasping
against the linoleum on our farm
house floor, the tang of pancakes from mother’s
skillet more important than any message wired
across morning stillness, reluctant call

to work that could wait for the higher call
of pancakes, maple syrup set for us
as we pondered the gap in fencing wire.
“I’ll bet it’s down by the pond,” rasped
my brother’s changing voice, causing mother
to foresee blame in his view of the farm’s

fence, the sections repaired,  She knew the farm
better than we, knew its persistent call
to blame and shame, the ruth of mothering
our need to lay guilt.  She knew each of us
carried burdens beyond the fence that rasped
our minds, a metaphor of our lives wired

to haunt us for past action. Our  mother
was there when everything on the farm
went sour, when a gate we left open rasped
our father from the scene, beyond the call
of warning, target of the bull that robbed us
of father and younger sister.  Our mother

learned to cope with loss, to father/mother
us through those difficult times as we wired
our lives back together.  She provided us
the strength we needed to hold on to the farm,
but she could not lessen the guilt, the call
to blame that rose in denial and rasped

at our hearts.  Our mother knew that the farm’s
faulty wire was yet another dark call
for us to confront what rasped our souls.

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