[from James Merrill's Water Street, 1962]
The Midnight Snack
When I was little and he was riled
It never entered my father’s head
Not to flare up, roar and turn red.
Mother kept cool and smiled.
Now every night I tiptoe straight
Through my darkened kitchen for
The refrigerator door —
It opens, the inviolate!
Illumined as in dreams I take
A glass of milk, a piece of cake,
Then stealthily retire,
Mindful of how the gas-stove’s black-
Browed pilot eye’s blue fire
Burns into my turned back.