Thomas Edison on the Amazon River


When light bulbs popped he was reminded
of his failure, his mockery of daylight.

Nightly, Thomas’s lovers unscrewed
his invention, preferring the kindness
of candles.

Once he thought he was so clever, capturing
the sun in a mason jar, dreamed of it conveniently
lighting a porch scene while a girl rummaged
for her door key, or illuminating her face
as her sweetheart found her lips.

Instead it was the moths most drawn to his creation
and Thomas found himself responsible for the deaths
of a million naked butterflies.

In an effort to outrun his own name,
he built a raft, weaved his escape 
beneath a pale ribbon of sky.

He drifted in the Amazon for awhile,
admiring the work of a greater inventor:
His electric eels: votives of the sea,
the dimmer switch of the sun.

But when night fell,
Mr. Edison could not stop concocting:

Perhaps a cloak of sewn glowworms he mused,
should no one be able to find me?

Or a bouillon cube of crushed fireflies for a soup
one can sip in the dark?

What if I could squeeze that bright flash of storm
into twin pendants for the ears of my darling, what then?
Would that not be the potion for love?

Even in the quiet black of the river,
Thomas could dream
only of light.

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