What Should Be a Lamp

What Should Be a Lamp

by Chris 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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