December, First Frost
A small green house sits beside the highway, darkening in maple shade.
It must be evening.
Inside the house my father tapes a match to the end
of a straightened coat hanger.
The pilot light in our furnace has died,
and now that the furnace grill leans against a door frame
a dark hole has opened in the floor of our hallway.
My father lies on his stomach.
He shakes a valve and stretches his arm into that darkness.
The hole stays dark
as a voice rattles out of the burners.
Why do I think it an admonition?
That same afternoon on the ridge beyond our neighbor’s pond,
I’d also been afraid,
afraid to lean my head toward the mouth of a cave.