Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Poet Cop

Not long ago, Scott English appeared at my office door. He graduated from FMU last spring and had taken my Introductory Poetry Workshop. He was wearing a neatly pressed shirt and tie. He had a handgun and a badge on his belt. It seems he's now a policeman in Charleston and was on campus to speak to classes about law enforcement. Something of a whiz with computers, Scott started his own computer business while an undergrad and while still working at a local grocery store. He says he continues to do computer work to supplement his cop's salary. It pleases me to know that there's at least one patrolman on the beat who is not only a computer geek but also a poet--and not a bad one at that.

The roofing contractor
shows me a bird’s eye
sketch of my house
with its peaks, troughs,
angles, and vents.
The abstract planes
ripple with white
three-tabbed shingles,
giant fish scales
deflecting water.

Twenty years ago
my father and I
did the work.
Now I’m too old
to replace a roof.
When the men begin
peeling off the old,
that will be one more
wide, flat remnant
of my father gone.


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