(#5) On desolation.

Prompt: rearrange an Emily Dickinson poem. We had a power outage so I’m going rogue.

The power went out last night and since then we have been
bouncing transient from house to house, diner to store,
carts as caravans as we wander weary through aisles wondering,
“do we need duvet covers? is my bike pump sufficient? where is the exit?”

and amidst flickering lights we grasp to the tangible images of smiling frozen people in bed or cooking on the sides of boxes,
gently glossed to reflect our misery.

The power flickered and then died,
and no matter how many hand-written signs my schizophrenic neighbor writes to remind us
to band together, save us all, call the police, help our neighbors,
the lights are still out and we’re alone in a Walmart.

We are restlessly comparing the prices on peanut butter cups
and Easter candy on clearance, the lanterns and votive candles have been picked clean

and nobody seems to care about the Virgin Mary shattered on the floor,
fervently searching for a reason to be here before we can find our way back home.

-C.

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