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  • Bobbie Emery

Barnyard Graffiti



I woke up this morning with the vague sense that dawn was unfolding outside. The birds were starting to sing, and I could hear the vibration of the swifts that have nested in our chimney, thundering up and out to start their day. Our border collie was scratching her collar and the rattle of the dog tags sounded distinctly like the rattle of a can of spray paint being shaken. I’m not sure what dream all of those sounds interrupted, but my first thought was that I needed to get the spray can away from the dog before she started covering the bedroom wall with graffiti.


By the time my feet hit the floor I was fully awake and well aware of the fact that my dog, who is in general extremely well behaved, was probably not a covert graffiti artist. The image of it, though, made me smile throughout the day as I continued to wonder - if our animals could, what might they protest? What graffiti would they leave for us to find, scrawled across the barnyard walls?


Clearly this morning our border collie’s message would have been written in large, well organized, properly spelled, block print:

“WAKE UP NOW! YOU’RE LATE!


The sheep, in contrast, would delicately write in tightly bunched cursive:

The chickens would surely demand more laying boxes. Written not in chicken scratch but in Old English using a fountain pen:

The recently weaned bottle-fed lamb would write, in the most plaintive font available:

“feed me - I’m dying”


The robins, who are raising their second brood of the season, once again over our front door, would make a huge x on the door itself and write:


The pigs would scrawl across our barn in huge letters with excess paint dripping down into puddles on the ground:

My fully awake and rational self knows that none of my animals would do any of these things, even if they could – but just the same, there’s really no harm in keeping the spray paint safely locked away. Why tempt fate?



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