“Waiting It Out” by Michael Phillips


The power’s out and not coming back.


We watch the lightning from bed,

arms folded under chin,

facing the window onto the yard.


We hold our breath in the hefty silence

between flash and boom,

counting the storm’s distance by seconds.


A gust rips through the chestnut.

If it falls, let it fall that way,

away from our new home.


I think of the places we’ve lived and left,

the rooms decorated and deserted,

all the places we’ve shed layers of ourselves.


Each impermanent and essential as a breath.


We wait out the night,

through wind and bottomless dark,

as we have on so many nights,


and in the morning start again.


Michael Phillips has published work in the Roanoke Review Highway Review, Philadelphia Stories, The Monongahela Review, Pebble Lake Review, and many others. He holds an MA in English and works as an editor for a nonprofit healthcare research institute outside Philadelphia. He lives in Downingtown with his wife and will be welcoming a daughter this spring.