Lighting the Pilot

It is quiet before the school bus brings them home.

My husband and I

are examining the boiler.

Our long-reach lighter relaxes unfound

somewhere in the garage; inside an unopened box

packed a lifetime ago it seems.

There within no doubt,

it makes company with my favorite woolen sweater–

the absence of its fibers more acute on a day like today.

Cold rain hits the basement windows where a peek of mustard leaves

flares on the trees outside.

We tape a match to the end of a screwdriver’s replacement arm

twisting and contorting to make it reach

before the match burns out,

then listen for the understated puff of success that will heat the house.

Soon, up and down,

through and in-between the walls

water starts to gurgle and hiss;

baseboards click and warm,

coppery pipes push heat through the bulwarks

of our weathered quarters

so new to us.

We sit as the kettle on the stove whistles

and the room warms,

thinking how much like marriage it is

to ignite the pilot.

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