Power Outage After An August Draught
The wind tears trees from sidewalks,
so we read by flashlight, remembering
all the dry leaves in the heat, evenings
when the sun hung in the smoke
from wildfires like diesel. In the dark,
you say something about the striped
hawk moth, affixed one day to our screen
door by the slate steps like a messenger.
The blue smoke that floated over the lake,
a smudged halo, the yellow-jackets
fumbling at our sills—now we see
what was meant, which candles must be lit.
The sleeves of big-leaf maples heaving,
as rain hits the cracked black earth.
Richard Widerkehr earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. His second book of poems is In The Presence Of Absence (MoonPath Press); one poem in it was read on Writer's Almanac, and one was posted on Verse Daily. Recent work has appeared in Shot Glass Journal, Rattle, Arts & Letters, The Binnacle, Bellevue Literary Review, Chiron Review, Crab Creek Review, The MacGuffin, Third Wednesday, and Measure. Other work is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Avatar, Blueline, Evening Street Review, and Raven Chronicles. He won three prizes in poetry contests at The Bridge and first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writer's Conference. He's worked as case manager with the mentally ill and, later, taught writing workshops at the Port Townsend Writers' Conference, and lives near Bellingham, WA.