Kerosene Lamps

At night, the kerosene lamps come out;
they look like the water lilies that bloom in the morning.
We set them on wooden tables;
sometimes their legs are unsteady.
Kerosene lamps flicker;
they open up like white petals unfolding.
The kerosene lamp has a blue stamen;
its flame lives in a glass vase.
Water lilies float on the marsh surface.
Neither the water lily nor the kerosene lamp has roots.
You cannot hold a kerosene lamp
the way a child cradles a lily.

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