By all accounts
this lamp is dead.
The brass is cold.
It’s old, but
nothing here really is.
The dirty, sinuous curve of art nouveau
a one-hundred-and-thirty-year-old baby.
In a land where terminology is tight—
an original meaning.
I rub a rag against the metal
until my hands are black.
Not too shiny, he’s instructed.
Something old should look it.
Weathered is a wanted word.
A brass putti head,
knocked by a casual elbow,
clatters roundly on the brick floor.
It will lay there,
feeling the wind
on its brass face.
Love is turning the light back on.
Love is losing a key on the way to the hardware store.
Love is my godfather putting the lampshade on his own head,
stumbling across the flooding backyard stream.
Love is barely missing the dog,
the lampshade that fits well enough.
the wires that stick out funny.
The lamp now has light.
But the thing itself was first.
Words, dead and alive,