One Hundred Moving Parts of Love  •  poems by lenny dellarocca

The Man Who Slept On Roofs

That summer he ran into the burning house, came out with the child. Nobody asked where he came from.
Nobody knew who he was, yet
everyone seemed to know him.
One day he broke up a fight
in the school yard, told the boys
he’d show them the rings of Saturn.
Follow me, he said.
And so they went up
to a roof he’d been sleeping on.
Look through the telescope, he said,
look at that trampoline for stars.
From then on, the boys
brought someone up each time—
the barber, telephone repairman,
police chief, until everyone in town
went up. Every night the neighbors
watched him climb another roof, set up the telescope and study the night sky. Women loved how
well-mannered he was,
men said he could tear
a Corvette engine apart
and rebuild it in ten minutes.
He knew when someone lied.
He knew when it was going to rain.
Katy down the block could hear
for the first time since
she almost drowned
in the flooded quarry.
People came from miles around
to go up on the roof with him
without ever calling his name.
Somehow he always knew.
They slept beneath the stars together
until one morning they woke up, and just like that, he was gone.

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