The Power Outage


Still to be done, a few last Sunday night chores;

washed clothes to be folded and put away, 

trash to go out. Simple doingness,

the respite of tasks. Bats are grazing fields

of air, a hoot owl calls in the back woods.

Visible from an upstairs window, the cloud-caught 

glow of an end-of-summer carnival goes 

suddenly black as all else. Must be children

stuck on the Ferris wheel. My palms slide down 

banisters to the candle drawer. Nothing to do 

but go to bed. The world is as dark as it ever was. 

Wind is awash in the music of trees. We rest 

in one another’s arms but there’s no spark 

between us tonight, nothing to kindle, 

so I voice a memory and you voice another, 

and we go back and forth like this, surveying

in deep enclosing darkness, the turns 

circumstance and promises have given us. 

We seem to be drifting together everywhere 

and nowhere at once, then the old impression 

of eternity sneaks up, that vivid mercurial 

feeling of before-and-now-and-again—and yes 

love, you, and yes love, me—somehow, forever, 

we’re sure of it. Or perhaps this is only human, 

unable as we are to imagine not being, or an end 

to our love, the sense of a saving, needed haven,

when light has failed and we’re in the dark.