The fences are going.
The other day they tore out
the tangled barbed wire and rotting posts,
slashed the brush away,
rooted out the stumps and
smoothed everything over as if it never existed.
I felt a pang.
Where will we see animal tracks in winter
with the cover gone?

They are talking of trimming out the trees
between us and the long field -
for safety's sake they say.
Wouldn't want any hanky-panky going on
behind evergreens and honeysuckle.

Still the wide flat outwash plain pulls at me,
plowed as it is from here to distant hills.
I rest somehow in the reach of furrow uninterrupted
like Indians must have felt gazing across enormous prairies,
though how would they have known they were beckoned
having never had the fences.
Even I only know now in the absence of them
how even their sight confined me.

Mother Earth they called her.
Now it is easier to see why.
The roll and curve of her
The broad comfort of her bigness
roomy expanses to rest on
Her solidness open-armed.

Yet when this fence went
I thought of animal homes.
Like the Chippewa when the loggers
ripped the forests, I cringed.

The fences are going.
The blessing is mixed.

Mary Mullen