Roman oil lamp


An awkward hand made thing,
pot bellied  with a spout
glazed in muddy brown.


It was a gift.
Who from, I can’t recall.
I kept it on my desk for years.


I’d pick it up sometimes
and feel the grittiness
that lay beneath the glaze,
marvel at the clumsy spout,
all caked with soot,
where once the flame had fluttered.


I passed it on  to one
whose life was shadowed then, and cold.
An amulet against the dark
two hundred decades old.

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