POETRY February 4, 2022

Nocturne with Fireworks

while doing my checking       my routine
I must do       each night     I check each
candle        three times     trace the burnt wick

as I say off off off    I can’t     tonight
keep moving through the kitchen
I stand in front of      the stove     again

following the small red dot above
each dial       I stand and tilt my neck
to think only off      but the fireworks

are cracking again       not metaphorical
reds and blues       but real noises     it’s Sunday
the Fourth of July      and I just want to check

each knob      as I must      three times
in a set of three      I just want to go
to bed       but another firework I can hear

but not see interrupts me again      it’s not
fair that I get only the downsides
of each of my diagnoses      no casual

inaccurate offhand OCD organization
no       just a tired man in front of a stove
telling it again       it is off

William Fargason is the author of Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara (University of Iowa Press, 2020), winner of the 2019 Iowa Poetry Prize. His poetry has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, New England Review, Barrow Street, Narrative, and elsewhere. He earned a PhD in poetry from Florida State University. He is the poetry editor of Split Lip Magazine. He lives with himself in Sparks Glencoe, Maryland.