Published in The Boiler Journal (Fall 2014) and LDoc Issue 9 (June 2016)


The neighborhood was without power again. They sat outside on the patio around the little blank TV, Grandmère and Isis and Mirielle and Phillipe. After three months, Isis was used to this, to the uncertain electricity and the scarce water. Tonight, like most of the nights she’d been here, the sky was not black, but instead lavendered by smoke and dust. Across the yard, Olivier, the gatekeeper, sat in a plastic chair near his room, a windowless outbuilding whose fourth wall was part of the high stone fence. He listened to music on his cellphone, a sort of tinny racket, held it up near his ear, moved his head back and forth.

Mirielle sat on the ground near Grandmère’s feet. Grandmère bent to braid her hair, her fingers deft, quick. Phillipe held up a flashlight so that she could see. Isis sat, listened, her hands quiet, resting on her camera in her lap. Earlier, they’d wanted her take their picture – they’d posed, Mirielle and Phillipe with their arms around each other, near the fence, near the front door, near the TV, out on the street in front of the house. They’d tired of it quickly, went inside, brought their dinner out to the patio to watch TV but then the power had gone out and left the house dark and gaping,the TV empty and the sky big and painted.