The Inside and Outside Occupation of a Lamppost


She is at once reassuring and disconcerting.
A hand lying flat against her for balance,
An uninvited grope in the rain,
An empty wine bottle set down at her foot.
More feeble offerings: signs of excess encircle her,
Cigarettes occasionally, and almost always something for dogs to sniff,
Posters stamped all over her too
Like a patchwork scarf,
Messages slapped on and boasting,
Then ripped and smothered, more forgotten remnants.

She is an outstretched limb, ready to be graffitied, like a school girl’s palm
Open and waiting to carry the secret messages of passing acquaintances.
She illuminates the street along with her fellow companions.
Alone, she becomes not a beacon, but a haunting statue
Where frightened loners wait
Trying, to find shelter in the weakly glowing puddle of her skirt,
And to which strangers turn their eyes
Gazes leering from shadowed alcoves
At the spotlight which alights the fantasies on which they prey.
In the daytime,
When the world has no more use of her artificial glow,
She is extinguished, somehow, made suddenly dull with a flick of a switch,
Nothing to do but dimly watch the street through her unlit eye
And wait again to weather the night.


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