Blackout

On the coldest night of the year,
a squirrel picked a fight
with the transformer
at the top of a power pole.

Neither made it out alive,
and the lights went out,
and the heat and the Internet
and I went out, too,
to stare down our street
of dark houses,
with their black-windowed faces
and the frost in their yards.

The rest of the city
glowed on the horizon
beyond our neighborhood,
still bright, still flushed electric,
still full of warmth and motion,
and I realized we were alone
with the cold and the dark,
left to huddle under our blankets
and try to rub ourselves warm.

Before I went inside
to fumble for candles
and flashlights,
I stopped,
just for a moment,
and thought this must be
what a foot feels like
on the wrong side
of a blood clot.

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