Some are old and ramshackle and weather-worn,
stained green with rains, pollen, and moss,
rusted nails dissolving to dust, planks torn
yet entwined with vines, like braces with floss.
Some are herniated, like storm-busted ribs
and meander alongside forgotten property lines;
tumbled together, wound round like fairy cribs,
and others ramble idly near countryside signs.
Some are new and black, corralling quiet cattle
within rolling hills and valleys of bluegrass,
and some are so old they wobble, jitter, and rattle
like broken teeth as the breathing winds pass.
Some fences are fortified with cedars and ferns
that grow up beside them, along their chains,
and some are stitched alongside the twists and turns
of creeks and rivers, dividing fields and flood plains.
Some are a few thin wires between metal poles
that buzz like wasps and sting like electric bees,
and some are spiked with barbwire in spiraling rolls
that covetously guard the bourbon distilleries.
Some are lovely picket fences, each so bright white
that it seems Tom Sawyer paints them each day,
whereas others are colonial, ricked up just right
in their split-rail style, zig-zagging this and that way.
And then there are the fences that divide each heart
along tribal loyalties—by town, by city, by clan,
by race, by creed, by gender, by whichever serrated part
that divides the Heartland with the prejudices of Man.