– Patricia Fargnoli
Over my head the roofmen are banging shingles into place
and over them the sky shines with a light that is
almost past autumn, and bright as copper foil.
In the end I will have something to show for their hard labor–
unflappable shingles, dry ceilings, one more measure of things
held safely in a world where safety is impossible.
In another state, a friend tries to keep on living
though his arteries are clogged,
though the operation left a ten-inch scar
and, near his intestines, an aneurysm blossoms
like a deformed flower. His knees and feet
burn with constant pain.
We go on. I don’t know how sometimes.
For a living, I listen eight hours a day to the voices
of the anxious and the sad. I watch their beautiful faces
for some sign that life is more than disaster–
it is always there, the spirit behind the suffering,
the small light that gathers the soul and holds it
beyond the sacrifices of the body. Necessary light.
I bend toward it and blow gently.
And those hammerers above me, bend into the dailiness
of their labor, beneath concentric circles: a roof of sky,
beneath the roof of the universe,
beneath what vaults over it.
And don’t those journeymen
hold a piece of the answer– the way they go on
laying one gray speckled square after another,
nailing each down, firmly, securely.
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