Observed and Observing, That’s Him

From his vantage, he has a bird’s eye view / and he can see they are doing their best / to ignore the dark sky

Photo of poet Armand Garnet Ruffo with orange background

On a ladder balancing
off a roof. If you were
to look up, you would see
a shamble of a man
holes in his work pants
holes in his jacket
holes in his sneakers. Holes.
To those below, he is a man barely hanging on.
You can tell this by the glances
from the backyard across the street
where a couple is getting married COVID style.
From his vantage, he has a bird’s eye view
and he can see they are doing their best
to ignore the dark sky, to manage
their masks in the unforgiving wind.
A few minutes earlier, the groom’s mother
waltzed over in wedding attire fitted
for the cold weather and called up to him
to stop working. Rain coming, he said, looking up
and over, pressing the trigger of his drill
zoom zoom zoom.
But she was polite, and he acquiesced
tossing his belt of tools to the ground. Besides,
a thought had suddenly run through his brain
like a busy squirrel trying to gnaw into an attic.
Special occasions are rare at a time like this
and it was even more special
to be twenty-five feet in the air
looking down
on all that
hope.

Armand Garnet Ruffo
Armand Garnet Ruffo was born in Chapleau, Ontario, and draws upon his Ojibwe heritage for much of his writing. In 2020 he was awarded the Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize.

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