Daniel Richman


for Bill Pattengill

You're on a lower perch than your clients in the money-tree,
but nobody echoes in their new rooms before you.
It's around you the walls close like blossom-petals
because you planted them.
So no matter who else comes in
they're second, even the ghosts.

And you're the first to step out over air on new joints
and the last to feel the fear of heights
on what in a day's work becomes a hum-drum floor.

And sometimes on roof-rafters
naked to the light like stripped rib-cages
or on a slim beam high up over the job-site
you bump into a tree-branch that never before felt a human.

I know a man who fell off a roof he built,
and as he crashed through the branches that saved him
got religion and quit smoking
and raising Cain in the bars and turned to Christ
of all deities
who dropped carpentry for bigger things
and was killed in a grove of three trees.

Dan Richman is a poet, playwright and carpenter in San Francisco. This poem is from a forthcoming collection, entitled "Farming San Francisco."


Poetrybay seeks fine poetry, reviews, commentary and essays without restriction in form or content, and reserves first electronic copyright to all work published. All rights to published work revert to the author following publication. All Email submissions should be in body of email text.

To submit poems write to:

PO Box 114 
Northport NY 11768
or email us at 

send comments to info@poetrybay.com

first electronic copyright 2004 poetrybay. 
all rights revert to authors

website comments to dpb@islandguide.com