The casing of bronze
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once stately and polished
had lost all its luster.
It sat, weary and worn,
run through too many fingers
and careless washer cycles
for any hope of a finish.
From dented corner to tired edge,
matte with forests dark and dense
of rich patina flourishing
on air and bronze and warm palm sweat,
I stared and stared at every ridge,
nook and plane for evidence
of the visage in my memory,
but every ray reflected back
was coated now with something black.
With subtle motions of the wrist
like a well-seasoned fly fisherman
she snapped the case to flip the lid,
but in place of its more youthful click
the haggard spring heaved a groan
like rotten redwoods splintering.
She rolled the flint to spark the wick
and lift it to her cigarette,
but the eager neurons in her brain
would not be placated this way.
She stood confused.
There was no flame.
Then the silence without the fire
to sputter fizz white noise over everything
with a tiny, rushing torrent of ether.
With defeated sigh she tossed it down
and left me there without a light.
The Moon was smooth across the lake
but I quickly grew tired of it,
and took the Zippo- icy hard,
impotent, and inert-
like a skipping stone
and cast it forth
and smiled I could transform
the lifeless mirror that I saw
into a scintillating sea of moonbeams.
of all misfortune, the worst kind of fate is to have been happy.