Another Day On the Roof

Another Day on the Roof

The cock crows at a blinking moon
rolling off into a dark corner
as the sun peaks on another day of toil.
Her faded jeans stiffen with the crushing ache
that no machine can wash away.

Their shovels crack old tar and gravel
splitting it into shiny black chunks;
black dust settling onto and into everything,
intermingled with an unchained hammered rhythm:

Crack, shovel, hurl, bang, thud, sweep
Crack, shovel, hurl, bang, thud, sweep
Crack, shovel, hurl, bang, thud, sweep

Tons of gravel slide, hundreds of fetid black, peanut brittle shards are surely hurled into a lumbering truck caked with dirt. The roof is swept, then swept again; exposing an acre of plywood and a mountain of debris; as the boom box drones keeping time; and she,
spoiled and just shy of mad.

By eleven, the roof is sealed and looking like a junior at his first prom, sporting a black tar paper suit studded with silver nail buttons, missing just a bitumen covering and reflective overcoat; the midday sun french-frying their alligator skin.

Bone tired by three; at six they drive to the landfill to dump the debris and then to order dinner from KFC, looking like a trio of grimy vagabonds, grinning lettuce and peppercorns from lunch, still wedged in-between teeth; gathering curious stares, brusquely fingering moist cash, blowing black snot into wads of filthy McDonald’s napkins.

Hours later at home staring at the TV
inhaling rocky road, pistachio and mint chip
three sets of toes pleasurably flex and curl;
two males; and one female relaxing, steeling herself
for another day on the roof.

Talk story

  1. Rhonda Arnold says:

    Like several descriptions relating to the intensely hot work: "spoiled and just shy of mad", "french-frying", "and "moist cash". Also appreciate, "bone tired by three: at six" as it lets the reader fill in the time gap without being told how their condition has deteriorated.

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