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.