“Black Out”

With your ear to the pillow you listen to the sirens and its foam harden as you bury your face, a pillow as hard as the sandbags tossed from one to the other along a river that must already be rising in the night. When your cheek hurts you try to make it a little better for the children crying now, unable to sleep in their own beds. But it rains sideways in every window, a terrific funnel, shining, and jet-black. Through the dark you feel your way with hands out miles from any warehouse with pallets of gently loved toys to give the victims, for this seems reason enough, a reason for scouts to rise from a thousand church basements not asking for the canned goods you gave them but giving them back dented and silver, with their labels missing, for something with the feel of a flashlight, for anything that shines, that works, because you are going to call the utility until you see what it is to be a ghost, trying each light switch (out of habit), throwing this one and that, unable to make a single room a winter feather lighter.

About James Reidel

James Reidel is a poet, writer, translator, editor, and biographer. He has published a biography of Weldon Kees and is the author of two volumes of poetry. He has translated novels by Franz Werfel, the poetry of Thomas Bernhard, plays by Robert Walser, and a forthcoming three-volume collection of the works of Georg Trakl.