Rolling Blackout
by David Birchman

When the bankrupt utility dropped
five hundred thousand of us off the grid
a million eyelids fluttered before we fell away.

Diners plopped into their potatoes au gratin.
Dancers buckled and broke their knees.
Guppy-skinned babes slipped through mommy fingers.
And the innocent swooned in the arms
of those who were not their lovers.

At the stadium the wave crashed utterly.
Biplanes corkscrewed the air and ground.
While souls sleighing on the interstate
went over the line and into the dark wood
of tangled rails and groaning oil tankers.

When we finally came back on line.
Licked awake by the family dog.
You gave me a look of inconsolable dread.
"What was that?" you asked.
I paused and said, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing."