The cows in the meadow-cum-bogland behind the house broke loose and ran in a chaotic fashion about the road down aways from our blue gates. I watched them from the kitchen window, marvelled at the beastly power on tarmac and at the luck that no cars passed by.
It seems the best way to guide wild cows on the road is to spread your arms out wide and walk towards them as if you own the turf. That's what the two men did, walk into the chaos so that the cows had no choice but to retreat back into the semi-captivity of the land where stone walls form a pattern and sodden grass yields to foot fall.
Gates close quickly to confine and the cows retreat over beyond the threat of mankind. Out there they are safe, bathed in heather and dying grass. I watch all this time, a woman with broccoli in my hands, glistening cod on the counter top, lemon juice weeps.
One of the men walks to the wall. My wall. I happen to like my walls incomplete, jagged, torn by the elements, washed with moss. This man does not. I see him across the field to bend to his task and fill the gap. He wants his patch of land to be complete. I baulk. I pace. He fills the gap in no time at all, like he is colouring in a page, a simple child's drawing, three crayons at hand.
He does not know that he fills in my gap. The gap in the wall that has always been there. I sat out in that gap for the past fifteen years. I sang songs there and told my boys to listen. Listen to the wind I said, the crickets, the nothingness that only we can hear. And they did, they followed my song and bent their ears to what I said and they carry it to this day. I mourn the loss of the gap in the wall and for what it represents. Imperfection is no longer allowed. We must turn to making a seamless world. I am a cow today, running on the road, steam rising from my nostrils and the wrath of man on my hide, steering me into a place where bars form like tall branches without leaves and when it is all said and done, they stop to light their cigarettes in silent satisfaction. We are all safely herded together. No one dare escape.