Tuesday, March 27, 2018

For a Sliver of Time

By Jen Hunt

Eclipse, 08.21.17
Predicted long ago
We mapped arcs of totality
Watched radar for coming clouds
Still not knowing
Until hours prior
Which way the clouds would blow

We reserved lodging en route
To triple mark-ups
Rates still not steep enough to dodge
Fire alarms at 1:00 am, false or true
Which of us went back for mother’s wedding ring?
Which, the eclipse glasses?

The next day we who do not gamble
Found ourselves in a brief shanty-town
Of Totality or Bust-ers
Descended on the parking lot
Of a Kentucky racetrack

It was ninety degrees and August-moist
We could swoon and miss the show
We handed sample-sized sunscreens
To mothers of dimple-armed infants
And drank ice water
Were your shades in the Amazon recall?
The gathered buzz
Risks of nicks
Slim but real--
Arcs burning backs of eyeballs forever--
God bless the Menominee library giveaway
For our spares

We watched our watches
Our phones
Or the sky above
We set blankets
And we waited

Until the moon and sun
To gasps and claps

Twilight settling all around the edges—
In our eardrums!
On our tongues!

For a sliver of time
We glimpsed the solar mane
For a sliver of time
We knew sun without threat of blindness or burn
For a sliver
The air chilled
Our skin pimpled
We were unshadowed and

Returned to our cars

The drive home seemed to stretch
All the way to the moon
As satellite maps led us
And rows of semis into single-lane
Cornfield traffic jams

We bought the commemorative T-shirt online
And reached home
Before we learned our cards had been hacked
At the gas station
And all the ice had melted
In our cooler

* * *
Easter, Ever
Predicted long ago
For a sliver of time
The sun and moon
For a sliver of time
The stone rolls away
For a sliver
Dawn flutters all around the edges—
In our eardrums!
On our tongues!