Today, at key locations in a diagonal swath
across the United States
people cheered both
the disappearance and reappearance
of the sun. Their collective throats
bellowed at the absorption of the light
and then erupted en masse at the victory
over the black disk that hid it from us.
Everyone wanted to be covered
by the path of totality today
even though the resonance of that word
in a time of tyrants, dictators, and the threat
of nuclear war is not lost on anyone.
Everyone wanted to be disoriented,
flung into a day-time darkness,
chilled in the middle
of a hot summer day,
reminded of our ant-like existence
Everyone wanted to see nature up-ended,
to feel the relief that a cosmic
hide and seek game could give.
We pat ourselves on the back at knowing more
than our ancestors; we know the sun is coming
back and yet we still cheer in amazement
at its return because we know too well that anything
can happen. We have set things in motion
and know that dominoes will fall.
At a time when we should be celebrating
our assurance that the sun will return,
we know that it might not.
And as eons pass, our descendants, if we have any,
will look back at our broadcasts and streaming
and twitters and posts and smile wistfully
at our childish excitement. As soon as it was over
we started counting down the days to the next one
so we could see it all over again.
But the time of eclipses is winding down.
Our descendants will yearn for the return
of the days in which a slow-motion
marshmallow moon could completely
cover the never-blinking face of a flaming goddess,
which daily dares us to look her in the eye.
[The most probable fate of the planet is absorption by the Sun in about 7.5 billion years...” – Wikipedia]
One small mistake in timing,
and now a bird is just a small clump
in the street. I was hoping it was a leaf.
Such a small mistake, costing more than
everything. She should have made it.
All she needed was a quick climb
over the oncoming car.
Stupid stupid such a stupid bird—
you’re supposed to know better.
But as I start lethargically jogging
my way back home, I humbly realize
my sunglasses are no match
for the hallelujah light
that makes me stumble
and fall to my knees.
I realized it had not been her fault
but the sun’s — that sun
that sneaks closer every day,
melting us so slowly
we feel only slightly softer, nothing
to be alarmed about. But on this day,
the sun sent a quicksilver messenger
from its flaming core
blinding the bird with a shard of light,
dooming her to one final flight.
As I shield my eyes and stumble
down the street, I vow not to be placated
by magic crop-growing tricks
or sultry tanned and cancerous bodies.
I curse the dragon star,
knowing that it burns to absorb us all.
Sunrise at the Mall
Twiggy fingers on bare branches
reach for the sky’s persimmon skin,
bruised with blue and purple clouds.
An ambulance takes a shortcut through
an empty parking lot, wailing in despair
while a seagull rises in the frigid air
and then swoops low like he’s fallen
through a trap door, but he’s not flying
anywhere in particular, just showing off.