by Roger Jones

Three of us nail roof decking,
staccato blows echoing off pine and oak woods
in a ring around someone's new house,
when Jim looks up, wipes his face,
"There goes a jet."

Shep and I stop hammering, look up:
cold, cloudless blue January sky;
a single jet -- soundless tiny point --
crawling across, its white line
like a thin scratch on glass, spreading
farther behind to a fluffed
buttermilk trail.

"Wonder where he's going," Shep says.
"Probably back to Dalby Springs," Jim says,
cracking a spit off the roof
to the ground fifteen feet below.
"Not likely," I say, "not unless
he's taking the long way home."
We watch the jet stretch off
to the farthest end of western sky.

By then, old Murphey's easing up
the trail in his black Cadillac town car,
trying to catch us.
By the time he steps out,
plants his cowboy boots down in dusty ruts
on the front drive, the air's lively
with rhythm, splutterment of three
hammers, slamming wood.

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