Outside a white sun blisters in digits. Sultry touches
raise viperous canopies that drape the roof above the black-
top where the dealership sign flashes ninety degrees.
Approaching cool, I am consequentially situated. Protected
behind tinted glass, I listen as the clock repeats seven…seven
more weeks to a civilized thermostat inside the passage
way. He smiles at the possibility, an uncharted passage
outside his familiar. It is the ear-to-ear kind that touches
warmer moments, of muted days like when he was seven
and had caught his first fish. Coveted and luminous black,
he caresses it while the fish gasps inside my memory. Protected
from disappointment, he is also German-built; three degrees
of generational sacrifice echo now where contesting degrees
exceed a hundred. I cool on stationary dimes as he turns a passage
outside my reach. Keeping pace, I watch a group of roofers, protected
by divine mercy, achieve feats beyond minor view. Inside he touches
pedals measuring the performance as fevered hands cross a black
roof, conveying the callousness; I count, 4—3—3—7, seven
miniscule figures reaching for the sun. Affirmation Lands: In seven
minutes, this will be that, and that will be this! Perpetuating degrees
instigated by birth. Cooling, I nest inside chilled seats defeating the black
outside heat, listening as the roofers exact a pitch of work-worn passage.
World-filled papers are arbitrarily presented. He touches
the pen, endorsing the spoken word; he is qualified—protected.
Still, I cool where he is, surrounded by air-filled bags and protected
by coded keys. I am composed inside my moment where again he is seven,
content and within my reach…Awry now, a roofer sways to touch
the standard, gripping crude scaffolding erected by chartered degrees
outside inequity. I pray for agility, his—mine, and for the laborer—a passage
near solid ground, cresting in homage to a white-hot sun. How the black
paint shines without blistering! Gray skin hardens inside black-
market proverbs; “Arbeit macht frei.” Even as I cool, protected
by dark glasses, I am conscious of this rite, this inevitable passage
approaching with a consistent speed that unites the seven
deadliest, where virtues are propagated by clichéd degrees
outside geography, estranged by policy while the white sun touches
us all. He turns north to the black shadows; “Si se puede!” echo the seven,
laboring in dreams of protection…and I cool, quietly regenerating by degrees.
Nothing remains of this restless passage, just me, a little cooler to the touch.