Watching the eclipse without him (moon)/ poem by Kateri Kosek
I’ve already offered all the usual things—so now,
barns. The soft dark flanks of mountains. The light
of a full harvest moon about to be totally eclipsed.
In my mind is a map of the knowns, small certainties studded
in the constellation of The Things You Won’t Tell Me.
Blankets on damp grass.
While the moon slides into shadow above the barn, silences
morph into answers. People say, cast a shadow he’ll notice, a shadow as big
as the earth, so I can’t help it, wanting to place myself between two
burning bodies, wanting my eastern edge to slip
into your dark inner shadow, pulling all of my shadows
with it too.
There are women in the dark watching in lawn chairs.
They are German. One has walked across the fields
to get here. One of their names is Elfie. They sip seltzer
and discuss how the eclipse can be happening
at the exact same time in Germany.
With alarming frequency, crabapples fall from their trees in the dark,
so loud it’s embarrassing. A flying squirrel, a thing I’ve never seen before,
sails into the beam of my flashlight, dashes up a tree trunk
I’d have given all this—the whole loud living dark, its quick
peripheral creatures, the crabapples thudding like hot red stars, the women
I can’t see, their accents lilting under the wide sky.
The last white sliver seems stuck. No one knows what happens next.
There’s no fanfare—a hazy swirl of blood moon, a few
shooting stars, feeling outdone. In the porch light, the flying squirrel
glides to a higher branch, immune to planetary rules.
People resume conversations, or turn to the glow
of their cell phones. The German woman gives up
and turns to go, begins to creep home across the stubble,
though we haven’t yet been released.
Kateri Kosek’s forthcoming chapbook, Vernal, is a winner of the Split Rock Press Poetry Chapbook Series. Her poetry and essays have appeared in such places as Orion, Terrain, Catamaran, Creative Nonfiction, and Briar Cliff Review. She teaches college English and holds an MFA from Western CT State University. She has been a resident at the Kimmel Harding Center, and the Tallgrass Artist Residency in Kansas. She lives in the Berkshires.