Of all the necessary evils strung
across the West, mile after mile
glistening either side of every highway,
every rail, keeping cattle in and people
out: lines of wire and sentry posts
standing between a disastrous mix
of urgencies, a clash of cultures:
the timeless calm of open space
invaded and escaped at seventy.
The better ground fenced between
Frost’s good neighbors, cross-hatched
into managed pastures cowmen dream
will optimize the grass, the grazing—
and of course the breeding: a tangled
trail of testosterone enraged to war,
a crash of skulls, two tons of bellowing
bulls colliding in a storm unwinding
borders for as far as they can.
Most cowboys despise fixing fence—
ride around the long step down
to keep the evil stuff up.