When I was a kid, if I needed a place
to let my mind idle, our garage roof,
on the slope facing away from the house,
offered privacy and enough discomfort
to soothe my conscience: the shingles
were always too hot or too cold and hard.

From the garage roof, I could see stories
in the clouds above my head: rabbits chasing
foxes, a gnome leaping, a platter of ham
and mashed potatoes, always mashed potatoes,
heaps and heaps of them—which, fortunately,
I adore: dripping with molten butter. Hunger
was a side effect of lying on the garage roof—
but I was going to tell you about what scared me.

I was lying on my side, feeling hungry, and was
about to roll onto my back to begin standing,
when I began to wonder whether I would roll
onto roof or the ground fifteen feet down.
I could not remember what was behind me:
was it empty space? Logic told me that
I would never lie with my back that close to the
edge; panic told me I could not trust my memory.
That instant of debate was my first taste
of old age.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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