Power Outage Elegy

Nathan McClain

My daughter can’t understand

why, when I press the button,

the parking garage door doesn’t budge.

The car stuck. The park too far

for her small legs to walk. These things

happen, I say. It’s no one’s fault.

In the apartment courtyard, the tenants are gathered —

one complains he’s missing the Laker game,

one can’t charge her cell phone,

another's laptop is dead.

                                            The power,

of course, isn’t the problem — we’re each unprepared

for such sudden loss, loss

that will last for the foreseeable future.

We’re unprepared

for our little disappointments.

Normally I might not pay attention

to sunlight pouring into the courtyard

but this afternoon, I do —

probably because it’s already nearly gone.

None of us mentions the night,

but I, for one, would like to

be expecting it, when

it comes.

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