An Oil Lamp

  • onJanuary 5, 2017
  • Vol.34 Winter 2016
  • byShin Dalja

A white porcelain oil lamp
that I once picked up cheap in a store in Insa-dong
lay for well over ten years pale and forgotten
in a corner of my house.
One day it caught my eye; I quietly lifted it
and the way its still milky plump flesh
was holding a dead black wick
somehow made me feel sorry for it;
I looked and looked again
then poured in a little oil and lit it.

At first it covered its eyes as though bewildered,
but soon
there was a magnificent flame tingling to its very toes.