Brilliant rays of light stream in a window with a clarity

he once saw in a ravine of light in northern Maine.

Awakened by a kiss of the sun he views a row

of hand-blown glass century- old apothecary bottles

illuminated on a windowsill with dream-like bubbles,

but no chips or cracks. Some cut crystal stoppers

have been replaced by tilted corks simulating

party-goers back from an after-hours club.

His life-long collection of bottles of verdant green,

opaque white and cobalt blue once rode the wagons

of patent medicine men, labeled in black, red and gold,

painted in ribbons, scrolls and floral designs:

Dr.Josephus Great Shoshones Remedy, Dr. Baker’s Pain Panacea

and Kickapoo Indian Sagwa’s Blood, Liver and Stomach Renovator.

Elixirs, mostly alcohol, often spiked with strychnine or cocaine

guaranteed miraculous cures.

Victorian snake-oil salesmen are now replaced by supplement

salesmen hawking products like Noni juice, Hoodia Gordonii,

Uva Ursi and Bulgarian Tribulus Terrestris.

Dozing back to sleep he dreams of rubbing a bottle

to coax out a genie to grant a wish, but his wish

remains the same as it was blowing out candles

since the age of six; it must remain the same,

or it surely won’t come true.

Plus ca change, plus ca demeure le meme.

More light, more light, more light, he longs for eternal verities.