Carpenter Street, Belleville, N.J.
Squirrels ate a hole in our roof.
They came and went
in our attic as they pleased.
At night you could hear them
doing the things squirrels do at night.
At first, Dad put a metal plate
over the hole to keep them out.
It didn’t work.
They scampered at will
across the sharp sloped roof
from high branches in the black walnut
and they had all day and night
to chew their way back in.
Now, I had seen Dad repair other people’s roofs
and I figured he’d do ours on a Saturday
wearing a blindfold.
But the reality I didn’t understand
was that the slope was too steep for him
and that now, unnoticed,
he had grown too old for the job,
deciding to leave the ladder
and the shingle bundles
to younger men who reminded him
of himself a long, long time ago,
before I knew him.
- By Anthony Buccino
from SIXTEEN INCHES ON CENTER
Copyright © 2010 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.