Encore

Sunday evening, and they come up the front
walk: the same lanky guy sporting an unkempt
mustache, dented baseball cap, t-shirt

and loose canvas shorts; and somewhere
on the periphery, his henchman ready
with props— a folding ladder

and clear plastic bag half-filled
with leaves and assorted debris. Their
modus operandi: some weekend

in early spring or fall, go up and down
the row houses, claiming to be “back”
to service gutters and downspouts

that need cleaning, like they’ve “always
done”. Someone told me Rob and Alma down
the way gave them sixty dollars in March

after they clattered around a bit on their
deck, showed them the bag of fake detritus
from their roof, then disappeared. What’s

even more mind-boggling is that they
come back to the same neighborhoods, season
after season— either they’re not very smart,

or are brazenly confident they won’t be
recognized. My ten year old, who saw them
the first time they came around two years ago,

rightly observed their ladder could barely
clear the second-floor windows. She said,
How do you think they could even get up

to the roof? But here they are, punching
the doorbell and peering through the blinds again:
I bet they’re getting ready to gesture toward

the slate-grey shingles, spin the same old spiel—
like a pair of mosquitos that keep coming back to buzz
in your ear, just when you’re about to fall asleep.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Eating Dried Fish With Our HandsDear nostalgia, →

1 Comment


  1. I love a poem that can tell such a mundane story and make it universal, like this one does.

    Reply

Leave a Reply