Everlasting Wicks (A Solstice Poem)

December 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

Everlasting, or so they claim
these short lengths of fiber optic glass
soaked in oil that never pours, only spills,
sitting cold, in dirty lamps.
When nothing is forever
Why would I believe the name?

Still I try
as the match flame runs to meet my skin
as the blue races to the cardboard’s end
a brief attempt at the frayed and blackened wicks
that are surely plugged with soot, and besides
all but one of the lamps are dry.

Nothing… nothing. Nothing
is forever, except maybe the blackness up the flue
which looks like it goes on eternally
Even the black stain of a year of candleflames
comes out of my nailbeds with enough soap
and thorough scrubbing

A crèche, of a kind
a home for foundlings, candles in motley, mismatched
I put my spirit to the task at hand
On knees that willingly kneel, I sweep
the tailings of a spent year
the broken pieces in hearth and heart and mind

On this longest of nights
on this shortest day, I bring out small stars
match flame to candlewick, candle flame to candle
On a whim, I touch the one glass lamp with oil,
that so called everlasting wick,
and as if to prove me wrong
it lights.
12/22/2004

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