The Keeper of Light

The little one listens but never reveals
What she knows. By day she controls the light
That filters across the roofs, through
Trees, on furrows of plaintive faces.
She wakes up alone and unlocks
Cabinets of light, allots the portions
Strictly, patiently hears requests
For additional rays. What a job.
She has to be careful. Not long ago,
In a moment of passion, she almost
Gave away the whole reserve. Phones
Incessantly ring. Amazing, someone
Thanks her for light. She has to hang up.
Her cheeks are ballooning, deflating,
As if she were some nervous fish.
She scoots in the broom closet, fits
On the funnel. Her face is beaming.
She targets the freshly erupting supply
Into a spare metal cashbox, hides it
Under newspapers in her desk.
No one has noticed. Flushed,
She sorts through the mail,
Coos a wilted sigh. So many tasks,
Yet the barest assistance. 
When she leaves, later, again,
She will dot the night, star by star.

Copyright © 1987 Michele Wolf. This poem originally appeared in Boulevard, Fall 1987, and also appeared in Conversations During Sleep (Anhinga Press, 1998) by Michele Wolf. Used with permission of the author.