Barbara Daniels: “Dawn Roofers”


Five workers unload a truck onto asphalt
ghosted with hoarfrost, Cape May emptied
for winter. The workmen sing in their language.
My pursed lips say why, what, final t clicking

the top of my mouth, my head and aching
shoulders shifting. I’d like to think the invisible
doesn’t exist—last week’s death and clatter.
Three days since your funeral, friend.

Ice rides the bay, angles up, balances, shines
in the middle distance. Borne on the water,
glowing froth pushes toward dirty sand.
The crew starts pounding. Hammers gleam.

As in a sacred city, light touches flesh—
soft bellies, cold hands. Shouts echo
from dangerous rooftops. The sun rises through
bands of blue clouds, the water beaten silver.

Barbara Daniels’ book, Rose Fever, was published by WordTech Press and chapbooks Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She has received three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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