On the coldest night of the year,
a squirrel picked a fight
with the transformer
at the top of a power pole.

Neither made it out alive,
and the lights went out,
and the heat and the Internet
and I went out, too,
to stare down our street of dark houses,
with their black-windowed faces
and the frost in their yards.

Beyond our neighborhood,
the rest of the city glowed,
still bright, still flushed electric,
still full of warmth and motion,
and I realized we were alone
with the cold and the dark,
left to huddle under our blankets
and try to rub ourselves warm.

Before I went inside
to fumble for candles
and flashlights,
I stopped, just for a moment,
and imagined this must be
what a foot feels like
on the wrong side
of a blood clot.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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