Temperatures outside fall toward minus four.
Inside we sit in a brightly lit warm room
as the TV drowns out the hum of the furnace.
Then, the room plunges into silence and blackness.
We begin the drill. Locate flashlights,
light candles, fire the woodstove.
We know somewhere wind-whipped workers
in elevated buckets search the system
for downed lines and exploded transformers.
As the outage approaches an hour, I glance
at my watch more often, worry when
to trickle faucets and restock firewood.
I chide myself once again for my failure
to test our kerosene heater since Y2K.
Then, light floods back. I take a deep breath.
The TV flickers on, the clocks chirp to be reset.
I walk to the basement door to assure myself
the furnace has rumbled to life. Comfort returns.
I mute TV just to savor music of purring furnace.