Barbed Wire – Joy Reid

Does barbed wire resent its role
racked between two posts
or does it relish the thought
of scorpion tails poised to blood-strike?
Does it smirk when the wet-nosed calf is slapped
or curse as a child might curse to see the elder spoil its fun?

Does barbed wire dream?
In dreams does it untwist, drop strands like fine, combed hair
strain to snap spring to a ball then t u m b l e weed away?
Reaching sea does it untangle there – eel into… surf?
Does it explore and return or dissolve with a sigh?

My father tells me wire makes cattle of men.
He tells me this eyes taut with the things that still
flap there
but wire is practical too,
keeps sheep from trees, separates cow from bull;
protects crops dissuades sheep obstructs kangaroos.
As I spool out new bought wire
shake loose cat claw barbs
my father’s hands superimpose.