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Stories II

Power outage

by Diane Thiel

Powercuts can bring on the most fantastic behaviors. Published poet and academic, Diane Thiel, found an anthropologist’s collection useful in fending off the ‘power outage’ boogieman while on house sitting assignment.

Some might have called it the reckless immortality
of youth, the way I charged through days and wired nights,
ready to take or leave anything with no notice.
Driving drunk through life, even more willing to let
drunks drive me home-drawing stalkers like a siren.
(The night the power went out, I had heard from one by phone.)
Housesitting for an anthropologist, her home filled
with masks, effigies, bones, bound to give anyone nightmares.
African spears, with patina proving they had been used,
positioned, oddly, in the corner of the bedroom.
A cough in the middle of the night-that noise of things shutting off.
I was suddenly awake. Felt for the phone. Cordless. Dead.
Naked, I leapt out of bed, feeling along the wall for the spears.
The weapon first. Crouching close to the door, my ears
pricked. Every tree brushing the unfamiliar house,
every wooden creak-a footstep. It was that night,
naked in the dark, a spear in my grip-I was ready to live.

Diane Thiel

About the author: Diane Thiel

Diane Thiel is the author of six books of poetry, nonfiction and creative writing pedagogy. Her work appears in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Hudson Review, and Best American Poetry 1999. Her work has received numerous awards. Thiel received her BA and MFA from Brown University. She has traveled and lived in various countries in Europe and South America and is fluent in Spanish, German, French and speaks some Greek. She has been a professor of creative writing for over ten years. Thiel was a Fulbright Scholar for 2001-2002 in Odessa, on the Black Sea, and is currently an Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico.