“Shingles,” New Era, Oct. 1986, 51


The roofers let an old shingle fall

in the ivy the other day.

And I noticed it,

for halfway up,

its cedar red was weathered

dull and gray.

My chin on my knees, I studied where

furrowed, mossy, and thin

gave way of a sudden to fat, sappy wood,

sheltered by

the shingle’s twin.

I wondered at how this same piece of wood

had weathered these two separate ways.

But because of another,

beaten himself,

one end had been spared

rainy days.

While the other end covered another in turn

and another was covered by him.

Without thought of themselves

the shingles displayed

the rule, whose gold

has grown dim.