“Shudder to the Apocalypse” © Brett Stout


Power Outage

The humidity was stifling,
another tropical storm
brewing in the Gulf.

I turned down the thermostat,
then grabbed an iced coffee
out of the refrigerator.

I was premenstrual, nervous
about a pending job interview.

Clifford scratched the fleas
off his back and came
begging for food.

I pulled some Kal Kan
out of the pantry, dumped it
into his plastic bowl,
then heard a snap.

Power outage, again.
Angry and frustrated,
I gulped down my coffee.

Dashed to the closet
for emergency supplies,
then jumped into
a cold shower.

Washed the sweat off my body,
then tripped onto the bathmat
fumbling in the dark.

Found a moist towel
wrapped my aching body.
Naked, I thrashed around
seeking cigarettes and matches.

I fumbled in the closet
and found my terry jumpsuit,
stepped into red flip flops.

A moment of calm lit up
thoughts of isolation.
Impulsively, I stepped outside.

Found my cranky neighbors
on their front porch smoking
cigarettes in the dark of night.


Marsha Johansen lives in Albuquerque, NM and holds a Bachelors in Business Management.
Her collection of poems called Around the Edges was published in 2018. Both her prose and poems appear in The New York Times Magazine, DailyDrunk, PoetryLovers.com, SadGirls Club and the Fixed & Free Poetry Anthology.

Brett Stout is an artist and writer. He is a high school dropout and former construction worker turned college graduate and Paramedic. He creates controversial art while breathing toxic paint fumes from a small cramped apartment referred to as “the nerd lab” in Myrtle Beach , SC. His artwork has appeared in a wide range of various media from small webzines like the Paradise Review to the University of Oklahoma Medical School Journal.