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.

© 2019 by Justin Hunt, text and photos