Rooftop Dreams – Danielle Resh

On dizzying days,
when New York
heaved a hazy heat,
exhaling stale and steamy
morning breath,

my grandmother
and her best friend
would climb to the roof
of their apartment complex,

lay out towels
like magic carpets,
close their eyes
and reconfigure
the whir of traffic
into the lapping
of gentle waves,

the simmering air
weaving narrow alleyways
into salty ocean breeze,
pressing damp lips
against their cheeks.

Those were the days
before air conditioning,
when sometimes at night,
entire families dreamed
beneath the cloak of smoke
obscuring the stars,
calling clarity
to chimeric reveries.

Just a flurry of immigrants,
a city that seethed
with sweatshop seams
and parched pocketbooks
and breaking beams
piled atop the sour stench
of rotting rubbish,
But on those nights,
they were careless and free,
slumbering spirits
of royals and riches,
kings and queens,
as they offered themselves
completely to the fantasy
afforded by lilting luxuries
and hopeless yearnings,
the musty mirages

of Tar Beach.


Danielle Resh’s poetry has been published in the Sunlight Press, Hevria Magazine, and Poetica’s 2019 Mizmor Anthology. She is currently seeking publication for her historical fiction manuscript about a shtetl in 1800s Poland that discovers its Torah miraculously growing. You can find out more about her writing at

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