A good day to bring light to the world
(or please a wife)—in the bag,
a jumble: a halogen lamp
for my daughter’s desk at school,
a 25-watt incandescent
for the wine cooler
and a 60-watt bulb
for the fake Italian sconce in the hallway.
Only the halogen requires a tool
for installation,
a small Philips head screw driver
and a cloth to keep
my fingerprints off the glass.

Outside, the sun goes in too early,
a cartouche of moon appears
in the crisp gray air
and incipient crystals of frost
dance in the atmosphere—cold
as the name of the season ahead.
Crows cry in the autumn fields,
the house, once dark
brightens up corner by corner
with each thrown switch.
One room only needs no artificial glow.
My duty done, I climb the stairs
to where she waits.


Michael Salcman: former chairman neurosurgery University of Maryland. Poems in Barrow Street, Harvard Review, Hudson Review and books Poetry in Medicine, anthology of medical poems, A Prague Spring, winner Sinclair Poetry Prize, Shades & Graces, Daniel Hoffman Book Prize winner, Necessary Speech: New & Selected Poems and Crossing the Tape.