Power Outage

Sean McQuinney

By the time they cut the power,
it was summer. The trailer broiled,
the smell of the toilets– overwhelming.
We could spare only one flush a day
after the neighbors stopped letting
us fill five-gallon buckets from their hose.

Sometimes it was so hot, the kerosene lanterns
stayed dark on the shelf.
I would go out on nights
with a good moon and trace words.

It was my job to go with Mom
to fill our buckets. They bounced
in the trunk of our Plymouth Duster
all the way to the Baptist church,
where the pastor would talk to mother
while I ran cool water over my forearms.

Sometimes Mom would get flour
or a few leftovers from the service.
Once, an untouched apple pie.


Sean McQuinneySean McQuinney is an MFA student at the University of Florida studying under Ange Mlinko, Michael Hofmann, and William Logan.