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 my mother’s great stores,
shipped them twelve hundred miles east.
She would not die under compact fluorescence,
by God. No ashen shroud of soulless light
for her. No sickly shimmer to mock
her fading or mimic the squamous-celled
secret veiling through her lungs.
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 final, eye-searing flash and out.
First Place, Whispering Prairie Press Award, 2015.
Published in Kansas City Voices, September 2015, Vol. 13.