“Restoration” by J. A. Lagana

A kaleidoscope of roofers 
skim rafters,            	flick along ridges,
like a tongue with no restraint.
            All morning 
their hammers         	thump & echo 
as they slap down shingles    pound thrap, pound thrap,
then re-consider,        
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 blessed, 
& 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 
runs silent 
        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.