Shane Omar


Running Wire

The milky scent of cowhide thickened
the barn air while we filled the pickup with our tools:
a pair of fencing pliers, fencing clips,
three hundred green metal t-posts,
a spool of barbed wire, a ratcheted stretcher,
and the bulkiest lug of the whole arsenal,
a massive post-driver—the hollow cylinder
painted orange, with handles on both sides
and a thick crown welded on top,
the better for pounding with.

We didn’t speak. Nor could we have heard
our own voices above the gravel roar
of those summer hours, morning
to late sun, digging the new post holes
in rocky soil, with spade and clamshell shovel,
working out a hefty, head-sized pit
that took dozens of forceful cuttings
into dry cobble before I’d hit the wet,
necessary depth. And all the while
my dad sounding the hot flat cadence
of post-driver upon the metal stakes,
delivering them into the ground. I remember
how it made his joints ache in the evening,
his whole body buzzing with the glow
of the phantom vibrations, the same that rang
for hours in my ears and often bled
into my fitful sleep. When he woke again
at four thirty, I was summoned. Sighing
like the kettle set back upon the stove,
I stood and put my pants and workboots on—
his flannel shirt, his jacket, his gloves.