Mind is Mirror

sages say

that acts like a net sometimes

where swimming thoughts get caught.

Then it needs a good shaking out,

for instance by a storm that kills

the power and leaves us

in the dark.

 

We fumbled for flashlights, batteries

right size and juiced, candles

and saucers for drips, a steady hand,

a box of wooden matches with a rough

black strike. We could not see ourselves

or where we were or where we were

going except by an uncommon, fearful touch.

 

Quick closed the fridge to keep cold in,

sweaters on to keep it out. The brain

behind the boiler had a stroke, electric

fire was in a coma in its phoney place,

and all around neighbors went dark

as ships at sea on a stormy night

searching for a glimmer.

 

The Net said nine p.m.,

but we knew from last time

how likely that that was.

We turned on the gas, fed it a flame,

and worked fajitas in a cast-iron pan,

ate dinner by candlelight, read

under blankets by book-light.

 

A greatbig wind shook the little fishes

from their wind-socked nets, choked

gutters, clocked firs taller than a house.

Could roots a basement stopped

hold up a pendulum tree under which

we slept or let it bring

the house down upon our head?

 

Of course there was no morning

Zumba, what were we thinking?

Shops were locked; Safeway, ghostly,

we passed; the strip was dead.

A yellow cedar had split and fallen

across a skimpy cable

and root-side up had sliced the grid.

 

At last when the day's light came,

we could see ourselves well enough

to fix our faces, brush and shave,

put makeup on as Hydro bucked

and humped the tree into rounds

in a pile while the network was mended.

The Net said ten a.m.

 

We were there when the power came back.

We straightened up, scraped wax from saucers,

put the dishwasher on. We cleaned a gutter

it seemed safe to clean and ditched a torch

that failed. The wind carried on. Trees

kept rocking, worrying anchors. Thoughts

kept swimming and kept getting caught.