The End of an Era

Light Bulbs

I believe that changes come not with the

Fall of empires or

The turning of revolutions,

Threats of unnamed disaster or

The specter of social upheaval

But through tiny incremental changes that seem

Insignificant at the time:


The hub-and-spoke system for air carriers,

Mobile phones,

And too much else to mention.

Today a twenty-eight year streak came to an end


I ran out of incandescent light bulbs.

They hadn’t been available for two years, and

Some people stockpiled them,

But I didn’t and I also didn’t object to

The faults of early CFL’s—

Their unconventional design,

Their gradual buildup to a full light,

Stark blue-white tinged with yellow,

A light that unlike anything found in nature,

But they improved

And it was hard to tell which was which

Unless you looked at the corkscrew tubing

That reminded me of a pig’s tail.

Sprouting from the base of the bulb.

Halogens washed over us next,

Along with LED’s, sub-ends of ends of eras.


And so I climbed my short ladder to replace

Two burned out incandescents

In the ceiling fan lights and

Found I had only one replacement bulb.

I went to the Rices Hardware a little dizzy

From all the techno names of the bulbs,

Fully expecting to buy a pigtail bulb

But found instead a CFL that looked like

An incandescent,

So if I squint

I can pretend that incandescent bulbs have not vanished

But undergone a metamorphosis, a strange transformation of sorts,

And they’re still here

But don’t tell anyone.

It will be

Our little secret.


Dan Verner

March 11, 2016




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