WINTER POWER OUTAGE
by Mary K O'Melveny
Our driveway is filled with rhinestones.
A corona of ice so treacherous
that even squirrels are avoiding it.
One step off the stoop sends me back
inside our house where, moments before,
electricity had fizzled out.
Fortunately, it is still daylight.
A deceptive slant of sunshine
made luminescence look innocent,
passable. To shake off chill’s edges,
we burn a log made of coffee grounds
and cardboard. We seek its sparks.
Our frozen power lines snapped
with a slight nudge from a breeze
that might not have drawn notice
on a spring day. Modern comforts,
now vanished, hover like shadows.
One battery clock slowly ticks.
All else is quiet. Our cardinal
couple perch like royalty in
our wooden feeder. Gray doves wait
on nearby lilac branches, huddled
like tender novitiates at prayer.
A lone rainbow-filled icicle drips.
It occurs to us that quiet may last
well into evening. No one knows
when our washer will resume its
cycle or our radio hum back to life.
So we emigrate to our bedroom,
energized by cadenced heartbeats.