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Of Light and Time

At my desk upstairs, window plunking dark

with rain, I bask in gleaming rays,

hundred-watt beams of the bulb I fetched

from my mother’s stockpile—

all those current-sucking, pear-shaped globes

she laid away in her last months, fragile reminders

of her incandescence, the way she burned.


It was the fall we cleared our Kansas home.

Amidst the sorting of a century, the stacking,

packing and throwing out, my mother

led me to her hidden stash: 60, 75, 100-watt orbs

of incorrectness, 40-watt appliance bulbs

laid like eggs in padded plastic—the lot

of them to be phased out and never made again,

box after box of heirless, power-hog geezers

begging for final days in sockets.


We loaded up her great stores, shipped them

twelve hundred miles east. She would not die

under compact fluorescence, by God.

No shroud of soulless light for her,

no sickly shimmer to mock her fading.


These days, I glow in my mother’s hoarded

radiance, bulbs aplenty for remaining years,

time enough until my last strand

of tungsten snaps—one little flash and out. 



First Place, Whispering Prairie Press Award, 2015.

Published in Kansas City Voices, September 2015, Vol. 13.

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