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Power Failure

ISSUE:  Summer 1975

ALL the relations sleep.
Forced to early beds by lack of light
Mother, sister, husband, children
have left me
to delight in my own power.

The storm that downed the wires is over,
steady rain’s moved into the back yard.

I sit on the top of the steps,
bare feet getting rained on,
watching the lightning bug
high in the pin oak
bright as the end of my cigarette.
Below me a gardenia glows
unconnected to its charcoal foliage.

A grey shape shifts among these
blacks and lights.
Another cat does not surprise me.

Leaning against the screen door
I’m vanishing with a Cheshire smile.
For not one of them—
Mother, sister, husband, children—
will travel the black house sightless,
come up behind me,
see what I am up to

until the power comes back on.


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