Powerless

by George Longenecker

Wet November snow piles on pine boughs,
branch after branch snaps under weight of snow,
power flickers then fails,
dusk is early in autumn,
we’re in the dark,
with no way to cook supper—
how many others are powerless tonight?
Gaza has electricity four hours per day,
if they’re lucky
all power controlled by Israel,
at least here we can burn firewood.
I passed a chained-up dog,
who snapped and barked—
what would you expect—
anyone who’s powerless
is going to snap back
eventually—

abused child,
refugee with no country,
homeless person.
You can only keep somebody powerless
                        for so long—
take away food, water

electricity, education.
They may keep power for a while
but eventually,
people will break through
                      fences, chains, walls—
finally long after dark,
lights flicker,
power is back on.

Poetry Society of Vermont, The Mountain Troubadour 2024