21 August 2017
The sun and the moon meet.
I wrote this poem before the 21 August 2017 solar eclipse. I haven’t seen many eclipses, but I wanted to try to capture something of the experience, even before it happened that day. I found something romantic, hopeful, and heartbreaking in imagining the geometry of an eclipse.
I’ve seen the eclipse already. I’ve seen how it begins: the radiant sun, the vanished moon. See how they are going to collide, the many decisions the moon made, the sun in its place and bright and not waiting, but willing. I’ve seen the introduction by the sky, the first tentative kiss, the way it can flare. The way these two spend their two hours together: intensify, more colors than imagined, gray and blue and yellow, white, too bright, scalding, frigid passage of time together, orbits constrained to a circle and collapsing in, leaving everyone else outside, in the dark, afraid, unprepared, caught in traffic, under moon and sun timid reconsidering recoiling while sleeping birds cry out in alarm and howling coyotes transform into humans, into bats, into umbrellas, and whine when they are coyote again. How they pull apart, not easily, with great pain, groping, mistaking legs for fingers, tripping, huddling, finding stars in the vastness, making a run for it. Get away from me! Apart. Hot and cold. Lonely. Remember those good times? Remember how they kept coming, these eclipses, these holes in the sky, brief beginnings and long endings? It’s there behind your eyes and mine, the twirl never-ending. So brief.