Power Outage
by Russell Rowland



Trees bowed under the burden of heavy snow,
branches broke, and power lines writhed across
the pavement like wounded serpents, hissing.

Images on two hundred thousand T.V. screens
shrank to blue dots. A generation’s cell phones
went uncharged, their freezers’ contents thawed.

Spouses blundered after candles, blankets. And
then? Till power was restored, she might have
to speak to him, or him to her, but what about?

Or simply let four hands do the talking—grope
the invisible flesh with which one’s flesh is one:
covert other who could be anybody, according

to fantasy, solving the power outage that strikes
many a seven-year union. In the dark, all wives
are beautiful, and desire what they need not see.

Crews work around the clock, the outage ends.
The couples dress. Visible to each other again,
they wonder if they’ve just committed adultery.





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