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July 2016, vol 12 no 2

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Joann Grisetti

Up on the Roof

Our new apartment has three bedrooms and a dining room. I have my own bedroom with a window, until the baby comes. I can see the town of Sasebo, my school and even the river, but my vision is restricted by trees, walls and other buildings. Carolyn and Richard share a large room across the apartment for sleeping and playing. Their window faces the base and harbor. Mother and father share a middle size room. Their room has a back door to the outside. Mother says it is a fire escape, and we are never to use it unless the apartment has a fire. Exploring outside, I find the fire escape. I can climb six stories, all the way to a low wall surrounding the flat roof. I have to be quiet climbing the steel stairs and walking across the cinder strewn roof, so no grownups hear me. Up here I can see everything in the world – the harbor, the docks, my school, the river and the ninety-nine islands. It is a secret place unrestricted by walls and trees.

city tenements
dripping rust
after a storm