“The Roofers” by Mather Schneider

Mather Schneider


She always wanted me
to get the roof fixed.
It leaked for years.

They came today
got right to work, I had to love that sense
of purpose.
I watched them for a while then felt like a fool
and came inside,
listened to the boots walking
all over my world,
the house shaking like a war
for hours,
me down here in my bunker
dust falling from the ceiling
and them up there
in the open
balanced like little G.I. Joe dolls
on the edge of a bathtub
filled with hot tar, the hot tar

they mopped onto the surface
like heaven under
a black light
the stink of it, the nasty stink of it.

By late afternoon it quieted down.
I heard them laughing, and one guy
sweeping up my patio
like he owned the place, like some filthy
shopkeeper, whistling
a child’s tune

and when they drove their huge truck away
they didn’t even say goodbye.

I came outside
leaned my ladder against the house
and climbed up,
peeking my head up like a survivor
looking onto a quiet sunset
over a battlefield

and I thought,
it looks pretty good, but what
do I know

and I thought, a 4 followed
by 3 zeros

and I thought,
she still isn’t coming back

and I thought
now it will probably never fucking rain

from Rattle #46, Winter 2014


Mather Schneider: “I write poetry because I’m too lazy to write prose.” (web)

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