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We’re starving for old rituals, for mystery,
for something not completely spelled out, proven.
The sudden slip of moon that turns the sun
into a wreath of fire. We’re waiting for that moment
during the eclipse when—at once—all the birds stop singing
and from the woods deer herds begin to walk out
from the security of canopy. In Lear, they feared
celestial events, sure that they portended doom.
But in modern times, we slip on cheap eyeglasses
to prevent blindness. And build bonfires
near the tide, dig our toes into the still warm sand,
melt marshmallows and chocolate bars
over the flames, savoring the sweetness
of our family all together in the salty breeze.
But, nothing prepares us for that moment
of true darkness when the sun is blocked,
the temperatures drop, the water hushes,
reverent. Goosebumps rise. The ancient brain
awakes, a burst of fear. World without light
and heat until light appears again. And we laugh
with one another, squares of chocolate in our palms
and place it flat on a graham cracker
Hold it in our palm—as sure as faith
in our continuing.
Copyright 2021 Sharon Fagan McDermott
Sharon Fagan McDermott’s books include Life without Furniture (Jacar, 2018). She lives in Pittsburgh.