Though I’ve called the county plenty,
the street light’s been out for days
while I’ve struggled in this moonless winter dark
for the path to the door, crunching in the now faint footsteps
I’d previously made, and more than once fumbled my keys
and hoped I’d catch them, the way a trapeze artist
might feel for the hands of his mate in the neon circus dark.
But when they fall, as they will, I pray they’ll dent the layer of ice
that’s limned the lawn for weeks now, and might be dug out easy,
and God forbid, not have to hear them skid down the hill we live atop
and back into the street, which is the direction I’ve already come
so many times, and it’s dark down there and oh so cold.
Don’t buy a house on a hill. the inspector’d said.
You won’t be young forever.
Dark magic, that he could tell the future,
and how like me that I was bound,
as if by spell, not to pay him any mind.
by Alan Walowitz, first published in Muddy River Poetry Review.
Editor’s Note: This poem’s conversational tone deceives the reader into thinking that it is about an ordinary night, when in fact the narrator moves beyond that moment and into more mysterious places by the last three lines.