Still Life with Banker’s Lamp

When we entered the room,
I thought someone said “composition.”
My eye lit on a dog-eared legal pad
in the roll-top desk, and a Parker
fountain pen still in its velvet-backed case.
They all came from a time lit
by a different glow: not the blue light
from a monitor screen, but the warm
yellow lozenge cast by a Banker’s lamp.
We changed the bulb and pulled on the chain
several times to our satisfaction.
In one of the drawers I found
a lace doily with a coffee stain,
several small padlocks with rusted keys.
In none of the papers bundled with rubber
bands or twine could we find anything
resembling a will. There was one
savings passbook; there were no blank
or canceled checks. You can read
in the rubber-stamped ledgers tiny
numbers in purple ink showing
how nothing was overdrawn.

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