Three Rooftops

“Three Rooftops,” a poem by Justin Bigos (poetry, ’08) appears online at Driftless Review.

It happens on rooftops: the jump, the cut, the kiss smack     between the stripper’s
breasts, your lover holding her lips right there, watching you     watch.

October, 2001, Chinatown highrise apartment building, flags of     restaurants and America
whipping below, before the sordid and banal became     photographed

on phones, dilated cyclopean eyes, sent to other eyes across     the globe, across the room,
the rooftop. Now she’s dancing with some guy, some dude, tall     and lanky like you

but embarrassingly determined. You like watching this, knowing     you’re the only one who gets
to take her to bed, 3 a.m. or 5:49 a.m., cab up to Amsterdam     and 106,

the stumbling up the stairs, fumbling with the keys, the jeans,     shoulders and tongues
loosening, and while she grins and shakes her ass for this dude

you remember the question Gina from Indiana just asked: How     long have you lived here?
She is soap-commercial pretty and she’s tweezed

the shit out of her eyebrows, and so you think of Ingrid Bergman     in Vertigo,
and how her stunt double fell down all those stairs to a cold

cushion in Hollywood. And your lover, years ago in Rome, a     teenager fooling around
with a semi-pro soccer player, Marco or Fabrizio, the most     beautiful legs

she’d ever seen, and you wonder how any woman could French     kiss a grown man
wearing shorts. But, of course, he goes for her tits, he’s Italian

and wearing a crucifix and then he sees it: the mezuzah hanging     on a chain
from her neck. She’s told you what happens next: the street     below rushing

toward her, thinking she would die as he held her over the edge     of the rooftop
and called her Jew, the word itself a slur, and how he made one     slow incision

in her chest with the pendant. Rome, which gave us a colosseum     built by twenty thousand
Jewish slaves, ossobuco, gelato, and the ghetto. …[Keep Reading]…


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