Sleeping on the Roof

By Joanne Lowery


The first time it was flat as a flood plain
and the stars loved me.
Even the moon tolerated my dreams. 
But tectonic forces peaked
so that I faced the threat of runoff.
The flakes of my skin failed
to grab onto shingles.
With a length of Rapunzel’s hair
I tied myself away from all gutters. 
Then I was neither land nor sky.
For fun I draped myself over dormers.
I dared the Big Dipper to ladle
me like soup. Dawn kept coming 
earlier and earlier. Midnight
was a nanosecond, REM the blink
of barely closed eyes. I remembered
the beds of youth and lovers.
I feared the closeness of heaven. 
After weeks of practice I let go
and rolled into a lovely nap,
kept going to the edge and drop.
A bit of a jolt, I assure you,
gravity bereft of lullaby. 
Sudden rain made all the difference.
Civilization exudes its own sweetness:
clean sheets, the mild declivity
we leave behind, and floors
that stretch ahead forever. 


Joanne Lowery’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, Eclipse, Smartish Pace, Cimarron Review, roger, and Poetry East. Her chapbook Call Me Misfit won the 2009 Frank Cat Poetry Prize. She lives in Michigan.

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