Hampton Bay Progressive Wall Sconce
The quote on the Jolly Electric Company truck
read Isaiah 1:18, and the inflamed-haired
technician bounded from our doorstep.
From upstairs I could hear him, steam
roiling in a pot like a churning sea in a storm.
For an hour, he clanked, twisted and tightened,
and all the while he whistled wacky, whistled
so loud I could barely think
or write. He kept calling me down: Janine!
Janine? Questions building like current
to heat tungsten, overload of complication,
bulge and strain: Do you have a towel
we can put down? What do you do?
Are you an artist? This might not work.
Do you have any children? Are you planning
on having any children? We might have
a problem here. We'll see. I go to that
church down the street. And I'm back in a pew
at Grove City College with my boyfriend
who asks if he can pray with me, so he begins,
and I wonder if there is something not right
with me that I think: let this be over soon. And
in a Target parking lot, where a Cadillac
crawls alongside me, rolls its dark
window down to a stranger, beaming,
asking the question. And with my roommate
across the Ohio border, the only place
we could drink, where she runs her finger
around the rim of a glass of Merlot saying she believes
I'll go to hell. What if? she says. What if,
when we finally turn the switch
on, it fizzes and sputters, flickers and fries?
But it goes on just fine, so when at last he leaves,
I look up the verse: Come now, let us settle
the matter says the Lord, though your sins
are like scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow. The fixture looks damn good
actually, though times like these I prefer
simplicity (and if you could speed it up a bit, please?)
Genesis, Mister, let there be light.
This poem was first published in Illya's Honey (Winter 2014).