1. Fences, Setting the Scene

by Marisa Siegel

The house I grew up in sits on a corner. Lots of fencing. Wooden, iterations of the same fence pulled down, in a state of disrepair, a subject of contention. I asked for a favor. I lived in that yard.

I was pretty good at jumping fences. I might get caught on the switch – the crossover to inside, necessary less-than-minute of trusting gravity and hands. Laughing and looking down. But more often than not, I could jump a fence.

Schoolyard fences, library fences, a fence to a pool at an apartment complex on the boardwalk. Fence to a construction site. Fence to a golf course. Ditch surrounded by a fence. We almost got stuck.

Climbing-fences were green, silver, or silver-painted chipping green. Chain-woven diamond-shaped footholds. Concrete sidewalk, lawn landing and off running. A sprinkler a playground a nighttime game of basketball.

Fences along a creek with nearly no water. It wasn’t my fence-jumping abilities; it was that long purple skirt. It was wondering about the feeling of being helped over in that long purple skirt.

And then with a gang of giggles marching that creek’s length. Leading the expedition. Dare you to walk over that wooden board searching out four-leaf clovers singing songs. Taking notes, pretending but also not pretending.

A barrier enclosing an area, typically consisting of posts connected by wire, wood, etc. A a dealer in stolen goods. A horse jumping over a fence. Fences hold in or out but something is wanted. Fences have gates.

I stood at the fence on the far side of the park, fingers laced through the chains. A camera close-up through the fence face behind the chains. I brought a letter that I didn’t write. I leaned on that fence.

Now I think about houses often but not as much about fences. Of course, Frost was right and all that. And to climb a fence would require emergency. But I spend time on its synonyms: balustrade barbed wire barricade hedge pickets posts rail stakes.

I spend my time on boundary.

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