A kaleidoscope of roofers
skim rafters, flick along ridges,
like a tongue with no restraint.
their hammers thump & echo
as they slap down shingles pound thrap, pound thrap,
as if the roof were a past
that needs sorting out.
How do we repair
the damage in our lives
wrought by naivety & lingering regret?
Some days, I want to tear out
the underlayment of a time & rework the story
I’ve told myself, a false narrative
that shields the truth the way a roof
protects a home’s inner rooms
from elements harsh & unexpected.
At twenty, I endured
the whims of one– older, trusted--
then lived with the aftermath
for years. There remains in me a need
to take up caulk & ladder,
& chalk off points between the bearable,
& the horrific in the manner of the workers
who utilize experience & thick rolls of papered tar
with an eye for what’s salvageable & what needs to go.
By 3PM, the neighbor’s roof
is shored up & renewed. The cacophony
of clanging tools & shouts
like a well-kept secret
before it comes to light.
Their working day, complete.
Their debris, hauled away.
J. A. Lagana is the author of Make Space. Her poems have appeared in Burningword Literary Journal, Cider Press Review, Rattle, and elsewhere. A founder and former co-editor of River Heron Review, she lives with her family in a Pennsylvania river town. Learn more at jlagana.com.