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The Headstone by Philip Sultz

Itís a small job.                                   
We use felt paper,
and tar the seams.
Pop drives down a narrow road,
and pulls up to a passageway
that leads to a Jewish cemetery.
We walk by row after row
of headstones, relatives and
landsmen, some with their                               
photographs set in brooches.
We stop to pick up a small
headstone that has fallen over.
Give me a hand, Pop says.
Weíll push it up.
Okay, on three.                                   
Boy, thatís heavy.
Weíll make it straight.
Go get the shovel
from the truck.
Weíll put some dirt                                   
in the corners.
Who is this, Pop?
You donít remember?
Thatís your Mother.
Thatís my Mother?

 

Tar Job by Philip Sultz

We have a tar job
on a flat roof, three story
with scaffolding.
Pop goes up the ladder
with a roll of felt paper.
He spikes a couple of
two by fours to the cornice, pulls
the rope through the wheel
and sends the hook down.                               
He yells, Sonny,
howís the kettle going?
My name ainít Sonny.
Itís getting there Pop.
I check the gauge.
It should level off soon.
He yells down again,
Bring up a roll of felt.                                   
Okay, a roll of felt.                                   
I take up a roll of felt
and return to the tar kettle.                               
Itís going good now.
Pop yells, Sonny, bucket of hot.
My name ainít Sonny.
Okay, bucket of hot.
Pop sends down an empty.
I chop a tar drum up and                               
slip some chunks into the kettle.
Pop yells, bucket of hot.
Okay, bucket of hot.
The same routine for a couple of hours.
Then Pop yells down, Letís get a bite.
Okay by me, Pop. I turn off the kettle
and we go get a bite.

 

 

 

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