My Daddy Made Me a Lamp by Edea Baldwin


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I
My daddy made me a lamp from a drilling bit.
The base is red and silver, colors of a thousand
vats blooming over the marsh.
The jagged teeth must have known small resistance
when they gnashed open centuries of tarnished
green-black ooze made of corpses
of egrets and snake grass.
Beaneth, layers of sand no beach will see
Shot through with Louisiana delta slime,
ebony that rocks a world.

II
I grew up in smelling distance of oil fields.
Hands stained with crude rocked me to sleep.
I knew the high simper of belt-driven engines,
Metal shafts pounding through pliant swamp.

III
Grass is yellow by an old well,
The ponds are ruined with rainbows,
The sky, unbroken but by a black spire
is molten lead blue.
As I sit illuminated by the bit lamp I recall
blue sky, white birds, the smell.