He has a past, a backstory;
a lumbering, hushed sub-aqueous iceberg, inverted blue palace
whose inelegant exposed tip is this pissed off light bulb specialist.
He arrived here from childhood, is overfamiliar with every crease and spot
on his own face, his own forearms. He’s scoured endless days and afternoons,
afternoon upon afternoon, evening upon evening, morning upon morning.
He’s flipped through magazines,
regarded sleepily a rustling tree outside his kitchen window.
He was, though, spurned at precisely the wrong pass
in his stuttering growth from seed to sprout
to pissed off light bulb specialist.
How many watts is your bulb?
I don’t know.
Disdain like the gust from a graveyard.
He takes the bulb from me with the gentlest pincing of the fingers,
a scatologist plucking a fragile chunk of shit.
He examines the corkscrew brass for numbers,
gazing indolently through a Seussian magnifier
he has pulled down from some overhanging contraption.
The kids rustle nervously behind me.
15 watts. Here are some other ones.
Can I buy a higher wattage?
Depends on how bright you want the light to be, he says
through a suppressed gale of angry laughter.
The fixture is on a dimmer. Does that restrict the choice of wattages?
This crimped attempt at bulb decorum leaves him unswayed and still angrier.
His anger manifests as a quietude one is loathe to disturb.
I’ll take some of those bulbs.
Pneumatic doors whoosh open and the sun pours over us.
All our common lifelong zig-zagging about from building to building,
state to state,
love to love;
in the fine powdery dust of doing.
Against the usual odds, my path
and that of the Light Bulb specialist intersected in aisle 3,
at that weighted, foreordained moment
and the embrace didn’t take. It happens.