To Roof

Ah, to put a roofing spade
to desiccated shingles

To lean upon the spade-handle’s end
leveraging stubborn nails
from their impacted seats

To wrench my back

To abrade my bleeding hands again
stroking the asphalt’s pebbled face

To fight a wind while laying felt
which, like Ahab’s sails, would whisk me
to a mad roofer’s end

To slam my thumb once more

To slash my hands with flashing
imagining the course of rainwater
flowing down a 4 square deck—
placing aluminum just so
as if I could plumb
a droplet’s depth

To race the advance of a front

To look skyward anxious
under gathering clouds

To become so unfocused in haste
my courses, like the venal
schemes of politicians, veer off
disordered and untrue
leaving poor substrate constituents
vulnerable to a deluge

Ah, but then, at last,
to button it up

To take the staging down
and store the ladder

To pack the tools and,
eye-balling the shingled slope,
wax smug

To hope again I’d out-danced
natural law

To think I’d punked Poseidon
(who pelts my roof with rain and hail)

To stride off then, self-satisfied
and jam my foot into a roofing nail

by Jim Culleny
September 27, 2009

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