pilfer: to lift, to rob, to shift, to guide the river to the sea

Poet’s Helper: What are you reading?

The Lemon Tree, a Gandhi bio, and When the Crocodile Eats the Tiger Lily. I misread while reading and now I am thinking: a pilfered fence. What could that be?

Poet’s Helper: Depends on what’s inside the fence.

Depends on what sort of fencer you are. Some people fence to keep things out.

Poet’s Helper: If you’re keeping things out something is being protected inside.

Cabbage and sweet corn, probably.

Poet’s Helper: There you go again. More corn. Maybe put them inside the poem, too. Or maybe that’s corny.

But, the cabbage-loving girl doesn’t know how to grow her own cabbage. She only knows how to pilfer fence lines.

Poet’s Helper: Pilfer means to steal a little bit at a time. Looked it up. So, pilfer fence lines really means to steal from behind them.

. . . an inside job?

Poet’s Helper: Yeah. It’s a poem. A sidling-along-the-fence job.

So, she becomes a fence robber. A fence lifter. A line mover . . . . But in her head she thinks she is a fence shifter.

Poet’s Helper: A different kind of surveyor.

She thinks: If you look at the line a fence runs, it follows some unnatural latitude that conflicts with the natural lay of the land.

Poet’s Helper: Or maybe it’s just not straight. Maybe it’s perpendicular to the latitude? Maybe that’s a good thing.

Naw, “Perpendicular to the latitude”  would be longitude . . . just a latitude by another name. She was hoping for a fence that if given its head would run wild.

Poet’s Helper: “Latitude as longitude by another name” sounds like the heart of the poem. Neither are real.

So . . . what starts out as “pilfered” becomes a fence running along a river’s line, escorting it to the sea.

Poet’s Helper: This fence sure moves around a lot. Is that a fence run wild?

Uh…a fence born free. (Ugh!)

Poet’s Helper: Maybe I like “original pilfered fence” idea the best.

The less said the better, right. To say”pilfered fence” invites the spirit to come play.  Case in point: this exchange.

Poet’s Helper: Yeah. Don’t mosey too far away from it.

Pilfered fence as shadow: the reader can create the reality that casts it. But if reader wears concrete shoes, reader says, “But fences cannot pilfer.”

Poet’s Helper: People who wear concrete shoes can’t swim either.

People in concrete shoes make sure to wear cute bikinis.

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About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit and YB Poetry Journal. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

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