Season of skinny candles

A row of tall skinny candles burns
quickly into the night
air, the shames raised
over the rest
for its hard work.

Darkness rushes in
after the sun sinks
like a bright plug pulled.
Our eyes drown in night
thick as ink pudding.

When even the moon
starves to a sliver
of quicksilver
the little candles poke
holes in the blackness.

A time to eat fat
and oil, a time to gamble
for pennies and gambol

*shames: the middle candle that lights the others every night
Marge Piercy, "Season of Skinny Candles" from The Crooked Inheritance. Copyright © 2006 by Marge Piercy.  Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Crooked Inheritance (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006)
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