When I came to, in that year
of bamboo, then carbon, then
filament, I learned to make
my own light. At night, my breasts were incandescent,
soft as white spotlighted jades.
And the school girls who knew
how to see in the dark brought me
back in their arms. We set up our atelier in the city’s
reddest section. We plied the marquee
makers with our sugared tips, took
their likenesses with powdered flash;
some took their last names. I just held their trembling faces.
When the men changed, grew
more famous still, we painted our faces
in an electric gold the blind could see.
And Tesla hung our brothel lights, made our copper eggs
stand on their ends – but I took Edison
to my bed. For him, I coiled a wet-
licked curl and buried it in a bulb,
I pressed my hands together. The city smoldered, then burned.