A ConceitA conceit, for those who weren't very interested in literature classes, is a metaphor continued for a very long time. Anne Bradstreet's "The Author To Her Book" is one of my favorites, in which the author speaks to her work as if it were an illegitimate child. I didn't write this for literary purposes, though (especially since it starts out as simile rather than metaphor); it was just one evening (11 Nov 1996) where I was alone, dealing OK with it, and looking at things is a slightly skewed way. And a resurgence of that feeling on 13 Aug 1997 when I finished it and put it up.
The lantern in question is nothing antique, just a cheap little box of blue metal with glass windows and a stand inside where a votive candle sits, acquired at a branch of Lechter's in the nearest mall.
The lantern is like me. Straight, square corners; neat glass sides so everyone thinks they can see in. a little purple candle in the neat, round holder. A thin, burnt wick sticking up from the center. And on one side only, invisible from the other three, is a place where melted wax has worn its way through the raised edge of the pool where it collects. Wax drips down, onto the metal where the votive sits. Marring its perfection with a trail of purple leading to a clump of resolidified wax at the bottom of the lantern. You can only see it from that one side. and when the candle is lit and you try to pick the lantern up, the metal handle is too hot to hold. You couldn't see the wax in the process of dripping if you tried, unless you just happened to have the right side of the lantern facing outward to begin with.
Some of me, dripping outward and being lost, and no one knows. Let it go on long enough and there will be no wax left for the wick to stand in, and though it may put on a miraculous performance, burning for hours when the wick is one black half-inch and the wax is such a thin layer its color is not even visible anymore. Amazing that they can survive that way. But eventually they burn out.
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