December, First Frost
A small green house sits beside the highway, fading into 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 lies open in the floor of our hallway.
Who knew the dark goes down so far?
My father squirms on his stomach
and shakes a valve, and into that hole he stretches his arm.
The lit match dies
as a hiss rattles out of the burners.
Why do I think that voice an admonition?
That same afternoon
on a ridge beyond our neighbor’s pond, I’d trembled
near the mouth of a cave.