Does barbed wire resent its role
eternally racked between two posts
or does it relish the thought
of scorpion tails poised to strike?
Does it smirk when the wet-nosed calf is slapped,
or curse as a child might curse to see another 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 Bass Strait does it untangle there - eel into… surf?
Does it explore, then return or dissolve with a sigh?

My father tells me wire makes cattle of men.
He tells me this sharp 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.