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Naïve Roofscape


Beyond the French doors leading out

to this fourth-floor rental’s balcony, open sky

above a pre-Cubist arrangement of

ochre walls, blue-gray shutters both open

and closed, and terra cotta roofs—all studded

with innumerable accessories and doodads:

small chimneys gathered in familial groups

and wearing metal caps, a Celtic cross

and two stone urns atop the church;

a gold ball below a flag-like weathervane

at the apex of a pyramidal tower,

the pointy, floppy tops of three cypresses

projecting up like elf hats; satellite dishes,

the skeletal metal wings of TV antennas,

and, best of all, the shiny cylindrical

vents whose tops, spinning like pinwheels,

flash festively with sunlight—all these

conduits and valves and instruments

that in one way or another mediate

between worlds, between a sky saturated

with sunlight and the streets below, noisy

with the cries of children on their way to school

and the clang of workers in blue jumpsuits

assembling scaffolding against the wall

opposite, keeping it all from falling apart.

from Between LakesFind more by Jeffrey Harrison at the library

Copyright © 2020 Jeffrey Harrison
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Jeffrey Harrison Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.