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 
then disappears.

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.
Photo by samer daboul on

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