Chore Boy After Dark

The reason for my fixation with ladders and gravity – one of the jobs on my list was to wash the outsides of the southward-facing upstairs windows before the weather turns. Yesterday that meant “do it right away”. But much of the day was bright and clear at my house, and direct sun does not help when you’re trying to do a decent job of cleaning glass.

So I waited. This is a practiced skill – putting off the beginning of the work until later. Much later.

When the sun finally started to disappear behind the hills, I grabbed my bucket and ladder and I discovered that doing this sort of work at night just amplifies the feeling of second-story dread. And I also found it possible, while wrestling with a 12 foot ladder, to write another one of those dreadful sing-song poems about falling.

Today the sun described its arc
It shone on home and nearby park.
Now in its fading westward spark
I’m washing windows in the dark.

Coyote, in a Looney Toon
That Acme Anvil toting goon
While missing rungs, he writes his ruin
Up off the ground beneath the moon

The neighbors to their dinners dash.
While serving up potato mash
They might not hear a distant crash
My ladder sliding off the sash

But in the quickly fading light
I’m making sounds that canines might
discern. A high pitched, screeching blight.
My sqeaking squeegee in the night.

A sound the local dogs abhor.
Their puzzled masters, they’ll implore
Don’t be like the baboon next door
Climb nighttime ladders? Nevermore!

 

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Dale Connelly

I am a writer and broadcaster living in the Twin Cities.

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