(Power outage)

Writers’ Weir: Outage

A poem by Richard Stokes

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.

Richard Stokes

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