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.