Tony Trigilio: "Back Porch, Blackout"




The moon is smeared with its own

steam and I can’t see a thing.

My hands scan ahead in the dark. 

I grope a deck chair.  Silent, the air

swarms.  My neighbor, the lawyer,

tromps up the back stairs with his dog. 

Too dark to notice me propped

in my plastic chair, like an eavesdropping

survivalist without candles or flashlight,

clear-minded and blind tonight. 


My breaths come matted.  He has a long story

to tell his wife about a car rental, details

that seem rehearsed to sound dramatic. 

Wood creaks when he shifts his weight.

He couldn’t pull his Zipcar into

the rental lot because of the electric fence. 

He’s whispering but I still can hear him

through spaces in the deck slats. 

No one can tell us how long it will last. 

Nothing coming from my transistor radio,

no music tonight. Background hiss—

crackles and clicks.



Tony Trigilio's newest collection of poetry, Historic Diary, is forthcoming in 2011 from BlazeVOX Books. He has recent poems in American Letters & Commentary, Crab Orchard Review, Denver Quarterly, Field, Laurel Review, McSweeney’s, Michigan Quarterly Review, Spinning Jenny, and Volt. He is also a co-founder and co-editor of Court Green.