You've already heard my message? I said.

As it happens, he said, I already possess
That very magic spell, word for word,
Which may account for these curious facts:
First that I am not inclined to believe you
And, second, sackcloth has no appeal,
None, zilch, zero. It's a non-starter.
I already succumbed to another lure.
Oh, by the way, there is no month nine,
Not anymore, it's gone from the year.
Spring back, fall forward, make obeisance,
Make welcome to October, harvest time.

He nodded to one of his functionaries.
The official began to read from a page
That he found in the legal sized file folder
That Mr. Toad had just put in his hand.

One night the party of the second part
Went out and by muttered incantations
Moved the massive dolmen that marked the line,
The property line defined in part six,
Subsection thirteen, paragraph nine...

Was that nine? said Quintus. Are you sure?

Sorry. A misprint. Paragraph five.

Wait, I said. This is going too fast.
What's all this talk of property lines?

You haven't heard of such lines? said Toad.
They're our civilization's very soul.
Are you just emerged from raw conditions,
From that state of nature that lacks a law,
Where all contend in eternal strife?
Neighbours, without a fence that runs a line,
Would soon kill each other off in feud.
A property line, an abstract concept,
Divides a plane in terms of ownership
And thus keeps the wild beasts penned in place.
My asset is your liability,
And only lines keep my hungered debits
From rushing in to eat your fat credits.
Without these lines there aren't two sides,
No self for others, no egg for sperms.
Without lines there's no trade, no need,
You eat only what your own ground grows,
Potatoes and onions, string beans and beets.
But when lines are placed, our cells stay walled
And precious substance doesn't leak away
But gets sold instead for the highest price.
And best of all are lines in parallel,
At right angles, lines laid out in grids.
In Nineveh we like lines to go straight
To make tax calculation a snap
And variegate irrigated lands
With lots of tiny, tidy, squarish plots.
Just dig a ditch or put up a fence
After you've marked the corners with dolmens.
Two points is enough to define a line,
If Euclid's logic serves here as rule.

But what if the line curves in between
And hugs a creekbed or follows a slope?
And who's to say it doesn't take a left
And take the scenic route from A to B?

Interpolation of some extra points
Will pin it down, if need be, said Toad.
That's what the State hires surveyors for.

I know, I said, about property lines.
What I meant, is what is this document?
And why must I listen to its contents?

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