“Black-Out” by Christopher Raley

And then there was no light.
I fingered worn wood drawers-
their racket open a cringe in ear,
fumbled contents an echo in kitchen-
for a dim protector of sight:
flashlight like modernity’s heirloom.

I stepped out to night of little distinction,
color a nuance, shape a shade.
A point of orange raging then still
shows Ron smoking and his garage, I guess, open.
An inclination of dark against luminescent stucco
must be Madeline’s hair sliding over the baby.

Sound steps in the grass. I jerk to my right.
Moving in pixilated dim, a faint white smear.
You out too? You out too?
I believe we’re neighbors by commonality’s cold comfort.
The white smear leaves.
I’m alone on a dead road.

Back inside children clutch their toys
and wide-eyed guide the beam.
Midwives of the elemental,
they search wavering corners
for ghosts I’ve grown used.


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