by Sara Backer
Wind wrestles our windows. Something snaps:
instantly, the two of us powerless in the dark.
No internet, no phones. No electricity for the well pump
means no water. Our toilets won’t flush.
I picture a tree leaning on power lines;
I once drove under a struck pine with smoking branches—
a foolish risk just to get home faster.
Memories of damage invite us to more destruction.
Flashlights dead from neglect, we do the wrong thing:
stand by the big window to glimpse, in lightning spritzes,
how sturdy oak trees sway, leaves flipped inside-out and silver.
And you, my love, in silhouette assume the shape of your father
who smacked your head until you seized, declared your talents
worthless. Perhaps I mimic my complaining mother?
We stay silent to keep your father from hitting my mother.
Must we be destined to curate our childhood dynamics?
When I light a candle, my mother and your father disappear.
We can hold hands and be afraid.
The dead oak collapses on our storage shed—the house jumps!
Come morning, air rife with deer flies and mosquitoes,
the gentle black snake glides through rubble,
and milkweed blossoms into pink fireworks.
Published in Tar River Poetry