What Should Be a Lamp

What Should Be a Lamp     (by Christine Biles, published in the Spring 2013 issue of The Laurentian Magazine)


Plastic legs, painted, hang

on the wall of concrete,

wet from the rain

that the gutter couldn’t catch.

One is orange,

the other, a tired yellow.

They don’t hang together,

not even making the attempt

to resemble the organized

form of a human body. No,

these are detached, separate.

They are meant to be.


Someone placed shoes

on the unnaturally

smooth feet: old white

Converse – not high-tops.

One foot, just one,

(the orange one,

if you care to know)

even dons a sock,

visibly dirty, yet

barely visible above

the ridge of the canvas.


What picture does this paint

for a passerby? Nothing much.

All they would wonder

is why the legs don’t

wear fishnet stockings.

And why there is no light

bulb, no lampshade atop

each alarming leg – that, at least,

would provide some finality,

some sense, to the suggestively

sudden end: half way up the thigh

of that perturbed painted plastic.

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