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.