• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 03

Staring at Fences

It felt like she had spent her whole life
Staring at fences,
Waiting impatiently,
Plotting some escape or another.

First it was the abusive babysitter
Her absentee parents,
Busy at the farm and the factory,
Hired to care for her.
She had recollections of finding
A crystal on a string in the garden
And trying to hypnotize the cows
Just beyond the fence beside the house
To become carnivorous and eat her
Obese caretaker,
Who was wrapped up in soap operas
And daytime talk shows,
Who threw baloney at her
And called it lunch.

Next it was the fencerow
At the back of the projects,
Where they moved to
After her parents divorced,
Trapping her with
Her violent, alcoholic brother,
Fourteen years her senior,
In a tiny apartment.


Staring at Fences

The fence adjutted a factory
That made blue jeans,
And with no fields to roam
And no adventures to be had
Running wild,
She came to loathe
Her Kentucky homeland,
Its borders becoming a fence,
Trapping her in both body and spirit.

She worked so hard to escape,
And at eighteen she did,
To a small liberal arts college far away.

Then it was her time interning in conservation
On the Arizona Strip,
Where she was surrounded by
Blond, married-with-children Mormons
Who detested her lack of religion,
Her brown hair, and her single status;
Bitter office politics;
A gross and sexually inappropriate co-worker;
And rugged fences with
Difficult, handmade gates
That criss-crossed
The beautiful, scenic landscape.


Staring at Fences

Now she stares out of her apartment window
At the wooden slat fence dividing the garden,
With its apple and conifer trees,
From the neighboring complex,
Once again plotting adventures
And temporary escapes via travel.
Aside from the giant spruce tree,
She doesn’t like the view -
The fence makes her antsy -
But she is largely content now,
Knowing she will manage
To escape again at some point.