Black

That summer, we rented a house on a lake,
a two-story clapboard with a wrap-around porch
hugged by pine trees and a path to the water. 
 
That summer, no phone, no television, an old floral sofa,
a carved wood dining table, two Captain’s chairs.
On a built-in bookshelf in the living room,
a first edition Game Of Life and two books:
WHY SALESMEN FAIL and THE HISTORY OF CONCRETE.
 
That summer, we walked the pine path to the beach
where we found a row boat. Each day after lunch,
we took it out but dark clouds rolled across the lake,
sulked, threatened, forced us to turn back. 
 
That summer, it finally rained. Our last night, the dark clouds
kept their promise. Warm water washed the windows,
flooded the porch. We stuffed towels under doors.
Thunder rattled our plates, the power went out,
lightning dazzled our eyes. The house pulsed with
electric white for brief seconds while we
fell asleep to the boom and flash.
 
I woke in the empty attic, alone. At the far end,
a single window, no glass, no mullions.
Something seemed wrong.
I walked to the opening but couldn’t see
the pines, the path, the lake, the clouds.
Just black. Blacker than I’d ever known.
I pushed my hand across the threshold:
no temperature, no air, just
nothing. No, I said aloud,
not this time, not now.

​©Jeff Fiorito 2017